Third Sunday of Lent
Moses met God in a most astounding way in the bush that was burning but not consumed by fire. Moses clearly had a powerful encounter with the Lord. He even felt bold enough to ask God’s name, something unheard of among his people at the time—God’s name was unspeakable. Moses stood on holy ground. Do we not also stand on holy ground? As people who are created in God’s image and drawn to Christ through the waters of Baptism, we have been filled with God’s grace and goodness. The ground of our lives is holy. Lent is a time when we are called to open our minds and hearts to Christ, rely on God’s patient mercy, and to grow as God’s holy people.
Rooted in God’s Mercy
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable about a man who had planted a fig tree in his orchard. The fig tree was not bearing fruit, and the owner was ready to give up. The gardener is more patient. He will cultivate the soil around it and fertilize it. Then, if it still fails to bear fruit, it can be cut down. The parable tells of God’s patient mercy. Like the gardener, the Lord wants us to be rooted in God’s merciful love and live fruitful lives, responsive to the grace and goodness in which we stand. Like the fig tree, however, we sometimes fail to bear good fruit, remaining dormant, living for ourselves, grumbling when we face challenges rather than relying on the fertilizer of the sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Moses was never the same after his encounter with God on Mount Horeb. We are called to be open to an encounter with God’s love every day. Lent is a season when we more consciously turn away from sin and toward God, opening ourselves to conversion, change of mind and heart, in order to be touched and changed by the Lord’s patient mercy. Doing so, we can be sure we will never be the same again.
Cultivating Holy Ground
There are three traditional Lenten practices that help us to cultivate the ground of our lives in order to grow in holiness and bear good fruit: prayer, which deepens our relationship with God and strengthens our desire to live as followers of Jesus; fasting, through which we heighten our hunger for God and become more attentive to the hunger and needs of others; almsgiving: sacrificing time, money, or resources in order to share God’s merciful love with the poor and vulnerable. As we continue to journey through Lent, cultivate the holy ground of your life through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, so that you may live fruitfully and well.
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