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3rd Sunday of Lent (Year C)

March 24, 2019

Gospel Reading Lk 13, 1-9


At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!

“Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them - do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable: “ There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. (So) cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ he said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilise it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not, you can cut it down.’”




The first reading from the Book of Exodus on the call of Moses contains two teachings that are of great consequence. First, it lays down the starting point and the purpose of every vocation where its significance is clarified in all its beauty. Second, it provides us with the first self-identification of God. Here the true essence of God is revealed. God wants to be present in the lives of his people; he is concerned with what happens to them. Let us look at the text. God says to Moses: I have seen the suffering of my people; I have heard their cry; I know well the suffering they are undergoing; and I am upset, I am disturbed, I have decided to do something, to intervene, and to set my people free. And now comes a description of the inconceivable way in which God decided to pursue and to accomplish his plans. He continued saying to Moses: I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt.

THIS IS NOT FAIR! This is a natural and an understandable reaction to what God did. He sees and hears the suffering of the people and is affected and disturbed by this. He has decided to do something about the situation of the Israeli yes in Egypt. Then, he sends Moses to do it. Is this fair? Here, we are dealing with the mystery of how God deals with his people in the world, including us today. God will not and cannot intervene directly in this world. He needs the instrumentality of people who are willing to give him their flesh and bones, their bodies, their talents and gifts through which He will make His presence felt in the midst of the human situation. He needs people in order to do what He wants done for the people and for the world as a whole. The only assurance Moses gets is this promise from God: Do not be afraid, I will be with you. As if God is saying to Moses: It is not you who will do the work. I will be with you and will see you through it. Just trust me.

The beauty of our Christian calling is that our human life, our human actions can become the carriers of God's saving actions. I am a partner of God. My life, therefore, counts. If God chooses someone he will stay with this person no matter how unfaithful the person may be. If I refuse God he will not stop loving me, but he might have to use another person to reach me.


By Fr. Magdaleno Fabiosa, SVD