February 28, 2016

3rd Sun. of Lent

February 28, 2016:  Third Sunday of Lent

See 12 connections with today?
Legend below
For the psalm
Pope Francis Angelus
We can be tempted to discharge responsibility for tragic events on victims, or even God.  But the Gospel invites us to reflect on our idea of ​​God:  “Do we believe God is that way, or is it our projection, a god made in our image?
Jesus asks us to draw from painful events the warning, "if you don't repent, you'll perish.”  Jesus calls us to change our heart and life, abandoning compromises with evil and by being less hypocritical.  Unfortunately, each of us looks like a tree that's been sterile for years.  Fortunately, Jesus is like the peasant who gets an extension for the barren fig tree.  Take advantage of  this year of grace to repent.

  • Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15  Moses, tending and leading Jethro's flock, came to the mountain of God.  An angel appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush.  Moses, surprised:  “I must go see why the bush isn't burned.”  God / Moses:  “Come no nearer!  You're standing on holy ground.  I am the God of your fathers,”  Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God.  “I've witnessed my people's affliction and heard their cry, so I know what they're suffering.  So I've come to rescue them and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land.” / “But when I tell them, ‘God sent me to you,’ if they ask your name, what shall I tell them?” / “I am who am.  Say, I AM, the Lord sent me to you.  Thus am I to be remembered.”
  • Ps 103: 1-4, 6-8, 11  "The Lord is kind and merciful."  Bless the Lord, who pardons, heals, redeems, crowns you with compassion, secures justice, makes his ways and deeds known...
  • 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12  Our ancestors passed through the sea and were baptized into Moses.  They drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, the Christ.  Yet God was not pleased with most of them.  All that happened so we might not desire evil things, as they did.  Don't grumble.  If you think you're standing secure, take care not to fall.
  • Lk 13:1-9  People told Jesus about Galileans whose blood Pilate mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.  Jesus:  “Do you think they were greater sinners because they suffered that way?  No!  But if you don't repent, you'll perish like them!  Do you think the people killed when the Siloam tower fell on them were more guilty than  others in Jerusalem?  No!  But if you don't repent, you'll perish like them!  A person with a fig tree who looked for fruit but found none told the gardener to cut it down.  The gardener replied, 'Leave it this year, and I'll cultivate around it and fertilize it; if it doesn't bear fruit later, you can cut it down’”
    • Creighton:  My richest encounters with God come when I open myself up and explore uncomfortable feelings.  From today’s Gospel (re Galileans):  "If you don't repent, you'll perish!"  Jesus describes the process of repentance with the gardener/fig tree parable.  'Cultivate':  to grow or raise something under conditions you can control.  But we're not expected to control everything....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Dying for some fruit":  If we don't bear fruit, we'll be cut down and thrown into the fire.  We can bear fruit by living in Jesus the Vine and dying to self.  Bearing the fruit of evangelization is not primarily a matter of instruction or persuasion but of dying and living.  In today's First Scrutiny, catechumens are dying to self.  Let's join them in death so we can join them in new life.  Through our Lenten mortification (almsgiving, prayer, fasting), may we die to self and prepare for life and fruitfulness.
    • Passionist:  The parable of the fig tree reminds us of how God’s mercy extends to all creation.  Mercy is bestowed on a fig tree that hasn’t blossomed in years and on Moses and the Israelites.  God’s mercy extends to all of us just as it did to the Galileans and the 18 the tower killed.  We're called to show that mercy to others.  How we have experienced the gift of mercy?  What in me still needs to be freed from the bondage of sin?  We're called to forgive those who have wronged us and ask forgiveness from those we've wronged.  This leads us to growth in love and understanding of what it means to love like Jesus.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Unless you repent, you'll perish":  The Israelites suffered greatly under the Egyptians over 400 years.  Throughout their exile and suffering, God was faithful, made them strong and numerous, listened to their plea, and raised up Moses for them.  God made his presence and will known to Moses through a burning bush, a sign of God's power to save his people.  The fire demonstrates his purifying love that burns away sin and refashions us in his holiness.  As gold is tested through fire, God purifies and fills his people with the fire of his love.  Jesus warned the people to turn from sin before it was too late.  The real danger Jesus points out is that unexpected disaster or death doesn't give us time to repent.  Jesus warns us to take responsibility for our actions and choices and put sin to death before it can destroy heart, mind, soul, and body.  Now is the time to get right with God.  Tolerating sin results in bad fruit, discipline, spiritual disease, death and destruction.  The Lord gives us grace and the present time to turn from sin.
    • Universalis:  St. Oswald, Benedictine monk, bishop, revived monastic life, celebrated liturgy well, loved the poor.
    Dress legend
    • 'Sheep' tie bar:  Moses was tending Jethro's flock (1st reading)
    • 'Angel' pin:  An angel appeared to Moses... (1st reading)
    • Orange t-shirt (look hard):  ... in fire flaming out of a bush (1st reading)
    • Sandals (not shown), 'precious feet' pin:  Remove the sandals from your feet (1st reading)
    • 'Honey' tie:  I came to rescue my people and lead them into a land flowing with milk and honey. (1st reading)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord crowns you with kindness and compassion (psalm)
    • Blue shirt:  Our ancestors passed through the sea (psalm)
    • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Our ancestors all ate the same spiritual food... (2nd reading)
    • 'Rock' tie pin:  ...and drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ (2nd reading)
    • 'Tree,' 'fruit' pins:  Bush (1st reading); fig tree parable (gospel)
    • Purple St. Bede button:  Lenten season

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