Third Sunday of Lent
Jesus in the gospel (Luke 13:1-9) gives the analogy of the fig tree. He looked for fruit. But it had none. Like the farmer who cared for the fig tree, God cares for us and loves us. Is it wrong for him to expect good fruit from us? Usually a fig tree is expected to produce fruit within 3 years of its planting. If it proved to be unproductive, it was uprooted to make room for a new seedling. Here in the parable the gardener gave the barren fig tree a gift of a fourth year as well as the benefit of additional care. No doubt, Jesus intended his listeners to remember the many, many overtures of love and the many, many opportunities for reform and renewal that had been offered to God’s people, to each one of us, in the past years. Sadly, some of that love and care went unheeded, and wasted. Sinners remained unrepentant and unproductive. What response can we expect from God? Should the barren one be cut and removed? In order to avoid such a drastic consequence, Jesus’ listeners, both then and now, are urged to seize the present moment to remember God’s mercies, and repent of our sins and be renewed in God’s love.
Jesus also cautions that any calamity that occurs should not be taken for granted as the result of their sin. For example the people who died in the San Bernardino attack or in the bus accident not to be considered as the result of their sin. That may be a rash judgment. The possibility is that if we do not repent such misfortune may happen to us.
The burning bush that Moses saw (Ex. 3:1-8a, 13-15) is another incentive to go ahead to meet God. The curiosity of Moses led him closer to it, and to look with inquiry and wonder. Instead of saying “a bush a fire!” and passing on, Moses wanted to know the secret of it. That led him to a closer encounter with God. To his credit, Moses allowed himself to be taught the protocol of holiness. He removed his shoes, he kept his distance, and he hid his face. At that God revealed himself, “I AM WHO I AM.” Not a stranger, but a father of all, and God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob. Indeed the God of you and me.
He is a God who loves, forgives and saves. Remember the wonderful things God has done for you, and rejoice in Him. See also if you remained always faithful to Him and followed his teachings. If not repent and seek His mercy and forgiveness. Now is the favorable time. God is kind and merciful.