Third Sunday of Lent

My brother and sisters, none of us can predict our future. All of us have to be prepared for the future. The Gospel reading for today speaks about sudden and sad tragedies that took place at the time of the Lord. Jesus uses these as a lesson for his disciples and for us. He begins by noting the tragedies. One was an accident: a tower under construction fell in Siloam. The second was an unprovoked attack[1].

When people’s lives come to a sudden end, whether it is through disease, an accident, due to violence or a natural disaster like the earthquake in Haiti, we all ask questions like: “Where is God? Has God lost control? Doesn't he recognize what is happening to his people?” Jesus says in the Gospel for today, God knows, but the time is not yet ready for him to come to judge all people, to protect the innocent victims of evil in the world and to bring evildoers to their just ends. Just as the farmer gives the fig tree one more chance to bear fruit, God gives mankind in general and us in particular a little more time to change our ways.”

Then He will come with power, the power of His Name. Then all people will recognize Him. When the power of God is revealed then we, who are no longer under a cloud of uncertainly as our ancestors of the Old Testament times were, as St. Paul says in today's second reading, then we will stand before God and present ourselves to Him.

But, for now, we still have time.

It is Lent, the time for us to face up to the evil that is around us and within us. History has clearly shown that the more we participate in evil, the less we notice its existence. Even worse, the more we allow ourselves to become involved in immoral activity, the easier it is for us to actually become comfortable with our own immorality.

It does not have to be this way. We are not animals compelled by natural instincts to a course of action. We can change. We need help though. The time to choose the Lord, not just with our words but with the actions of our lives, the time to choose is now, not at some moment in the future when we think we will drastically change and embrace God. That future time might never come. Towers fall. Massacres take place. Loved ones die.

We call upon God to come now and heal this sick world of ours. Are we ready for Him? Are we a fig tree that is producing fruit, or would we have to be cut down with every other part of creation that has failed to serve its purpose?

Lent is the time for reconciliation. Great word: reconciliation. Reconciliation means setting ourselves right in our relationships with others, God first and then with His presence in His people. Lent is the time for us to recognize our own participation in the cumulative effects of evil in the world. Lent is a time for us to view our own personal tragedies as resulting from the effect of evil on the innocent. Lent is a time for us to ask for forgiveness and courage so that we might bear fruit. Lent is a time for us to face up to our own failings as we recognize that God can and will heal us and help us.

It is not too late. The fig tree has been given another year. May God give us the courage to use His time and our time wisely. May we bear fruit ■

[1] Sunday, March 7, 2010, Third Sunday of Lent, Readings: Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15, Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11, 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12, Luke 13:1-9.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris