Third Sunday of Lent
Year C Readings: Lectionary: 30
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Reading 1: Ex. 3:1-8a, 13-15
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 103: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11.
Reading 2: 1 Cor. 10:1-6, 10-12
Verse before the gospel: Mt. 4:17
Gospel: Lk. 13:1-9
In this third Sunday of Lent I am going to focus in three points that I consider important.
- Standing before the Sacred
The ordinary often becomes extraordinary. What apparently is a fire that does not consume the bush becomes a fire that inflames the heart of Moses with a special Mission. When Moses listens to the voice of God he covers his face, this is interesting since no one could see God face to face and survive. In this first encounter, God asks Moses something very special; to take off his sandals because the ground he is walking on is holy. Every place where the presence of the Lord is found is a holy place. This temple is a place of encounter with the sacred. It is a place of encounter with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Today God would not ask us to remove our sandals; rather he would ask us to put on little more clothes so that we are not a cause of distraction for others. Remember that we come to have a personal and at the same time a communal encounter with God in this Holy place. God would also tell us in this holy place, leave your cell phone in peace; listen to what my word says to you. It is important to return the temple the sense of the divine, where the divine presence of God awaits you and me.
I love this dialogue between God and Moses, God gives a mission to Moses, but Moses refutes everything by saying that he does not feel capable of carrying out such a mission. But God always provides, the root of this encounter is given because God says, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers so I know well what they are suffering” (Here I am Lord # 698).
Moses mission was a mission of freedom, a mission of love, a mission for a better life for the people of God. When we are at the presence of the Sacred of the divine, God give us the same Mission. We need to cover our face and let God burn within our hearts. This kind of fire and love never consumes us, but grows and it gets others attention. Our mission is to rescue people from the darkness of sin, vice, and death. To accomplish this special mission we do need to remove our sandals, the sandals of unbelief, the sandals of doubt, the sandals envy, the sandals of anger, the sandals of lust, etc.…
- Learning from the past is wise
Learning from the past is wise, many of the things that make us suffer today are actions committed from the past. Moses did free the people of Israel from the power of the Egyptians but not all reached the Promised Land because of their great attachment to the past. During their journey to a better life they always murmured and sinned against Moses and God.
Saint Paul reminds us that the Israelites also had divine intervention and the presence of God in various forms in that journey, yet they continue to sinned and therefore wondered in the desert for forty years. Learning from the past means that we need to look in a very personal and universal way history, so that we won’t commit the same mistakes people did. Saint Paul reminds us that, “Those things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us.”
This is not a sentence on the part of Saint Paul; on the contrary, it is a reminder that we must renew our daily relationship with God and our brothers. We can learn to pray with Psalm 51, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence; take not your Holy Spirit from me” (Ps. 51:10-11). Sin separates us not only from God, but from our community of faith, we stop having healthy relationships with people. Learning from the past means not making the same mistakes because we already know the consequences they bring.
Only in God can we find comfort in the past and hope in the future, “Remember, O Lord, your compassion and loving devotion, for they are from age to age. Remember not the sins of my youth, or my rebellious acts; remember me according to your loving devotion, because of your goodness,” (Ps. 25:7-8).
- God is patient and merciful
The conversion of a person can last a lifetime. That is why God is so patient with us, God knows how to wait, he is not in a hurry because his Mercy is eternal. In the parable of the fig three Jesus reminds us of all the effort and work that God does so that we can bear fruits of goodness and holiness.
We are invited to know how to be patient with God’s patience. We are invited to plant the seed of the word in people’s hearts but at the same time we do not want to harvest what we sow. Remember the words of Saint Paul, “I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Co. 3:6-7).
Here are some Bible passages that would help us understand the importance of patience:
Proverbs 16:32: Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.
Proverbs 15:1: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.