Bulletin: March 20, 2022
Updated: Mar 29, 2022
Third Sunday of Lent
Elizabeth Barret Browning wrote, “Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God, But only he who sees, takes off his shoes; The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.” We are challenged today to experience the mystery of God with the image of Moses and the burning bush—a God who answers all questions in a simple, bold manner. Like an exasperated parent telling a child “Because I said so,” God tells Moses “I am who I am,” and “tell the Israelites I AM sent me to you.” God may as well have said, “Save all your questions, and trust in me. Quit being so stubborn.” The passage from First Corinthians reminds us what happened when the Israelites did not listen to God’s message. They grumbled and complained because manna from heaven was not enough! Lastly, an annoyed Jesus calls on his listeners to repent and uses a difficult parable to stress transformation.
A CONTINUOUS LENT
In the Rule of Saint Benedict, the monks are told that their lives should be a “continuous Lent.” At first, this may sound like a negative, difficult thing, or entirely depressing. Rather, it is simply a call to be open and continue growing. In fact, one of the vows that Benedictines profess is Conversatio Morum, that is, “conversion of life.” In a nutshell, that is what Jesus is saying this week. We are being called to change our lives. Some people came to Jesus with gossip and a gruesome story about Pilate; Jesus challenged them with a couple of pointed questions, and then related the parable of the fig tree. To put it in context, usually figs blossom within two years, and then can be harvested twice a year. When a tree has been barren three years, it might be best just to remove it, but this is not the approach that Jesus suggested. Rather, the gardener in the parable chose to nurture the tree, fertilizing it with dung. He was not willing to give up on it.
There are times when we may feel our lives are covered in dung, and we lie dormant through a plethora of difficult and painful moments. But Jesus is calling us to use this time, to draw strength from it, to use the dung in our lives as fertilizer, to begin a slow and steady transformation to a new and better place, until we too can bear fruit. Growth is always a process, and we have to start somewhere. While there is always a call to repentance and conversion, we are blessed with a God who is loving enough and patient enough to wait for us to come to our senses, however long that may take. This Lent we are being called to life. We are called to repent. We are called to be nurtured and fertilized and take the time and effort to grow.
Today’s Readings: Ex 3:1–8a, 13–15; Ps 103:1–2, 3–4, 6–7, 8, 11; 1 Cor 10:1–6, 10–12; Lk 13:1–9
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