Third Sunday of Lent C

Sunday readings in brief 3 Lent C
Ex 3:1-8,13-15; Ps 102(103); 1 Cor 10:1-6,10-12; Lk 13:1-9
Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh (I am who I am)
Dear friends, today is the third Sunday of Lent. We are coming to the middle of this important period of our Christian living. It is a time when we retreat to meditate deeply about the cost of our journey of salvation through Christ and see if we are on track for its completion.
In the first reading today, we encounter the first instance in the Bible where God reveals his name to Man. Before this revelation, the Israelites addressed God by his qualities such as Elohiym (the mighty one). Even afterwards, Israel never dared call God directly but used euphemisms like YAHWEH. Biblical scholars debate about the question whether it was Moses who did not know God’s name or the Israelites. Some say that it was Moses and therefore he wanted to know the name of God in case the Israelites would ask him as a prove of his claim that God had sent him.
God introduces himself to Moses as the God of the fore fathers of Israel. However, at Moses’ insistence, God gives this strange name and Moses was more confused and continued to ask for other signs. The name “I AM WHO I AM” is a translation from the Hebrew word Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh that has a variety of interpretations because of the peculiar nature of tenses in Hebrew language. Therefore, Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh could also mean, “I will be who I will be” or “I am the existing one” or “I am without equal”.
Our God is a merciful God and does not delight in the suffering of his own people that he created in his own image and likeness. Therefore, in every generation, God calls some persons from among his people who help him to intervene in their predicaments like Moses. You and I have been called through baptism to be the heralds of God’s love and mercy to others. Through Christ, we have been justified to call God ‘ABBA” father. Let us like Moses accept our call to be the light to those in darkness even if we have our own defects.
In the second reading, St. Paul alludes to the history of Israel who suffered the consequences of disobeying God. St. Paul tell us that these things were written down as a testimony for us so that we may learn from the mistake of our ancestors. In our world today, many tragedies are as a result of us not reading the signs of time or learning from the mistakes of others. The war going on in Ukraine is a good example. It exposes how weak and polarized the world has become and how vague the so-called world organizations are. Someone announces in broad daylight that he is going to burn the neighbour’s house and other neighbours just sit and dare him to do so and he goes ahead with his plan. Can you take a second to imagine that!
In the Gospel passage today, Jesus urges us not to be quick to judge others as more sinful than us just because they have been caught up in a misfortune. That likewise, if we do not give fruits of our calling, we will have ourselves to blame. God is patient with us his children just like the owner of the fig tree had waited patiently for three years without getting fruits from it. At the request of the gardener, the owner he declines to destroy it and extends his patient for one more year. We are the fig trees that are planted in the vineyard of the Lord here on earth. We are to give fruits according to the potential that God has bestowed upon each one of us. Let us not take for granted the patience of God and the intercession of our saviour so that we may not lament when it is time to cut down the unfruitful fig tree.
Dear friends, all of us are experiencing the consequences of the aggression of Russia to the people of Ukraine directly or indirectly. We have not yet got out of the Covid-19 pandemic that has equalized all of us worldwide. These are clear sign that globalization has reached a point where no one can isolate and think that he or she can be well when the other is suffering. Let us make this Lenten season a period to strengthen our concern for others especially the suffering.
Have a blessed Sunday.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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