Homily Third Sunday of Lent Year C Repent and followed the Lord

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Homily Third Sunday of Lent Year C

Reading 1: The background to our reading. Moses had killed an Egyptian and has fled the wrath of Pharaoh. Now, God appears to him to reveal his plan. God first reminds Moses of God’s sacredness and Moses’ sinfulness. “This is holy ground.... remove your sandals.” He then reveals to Moses that he is the same God that his ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worshipped. In response, Moses hides his face. This is in contrast to later on in Moses’ relationship with God when God invites Moses into his presence to see his glory.

The purpose for this present revelation is to reveal God’ plan for his Chosen people who are in bondage. “I will deliver my people from their bondage in Egypt and lead them to the land I promised Abraham and his descendants.”

Moses initially protested that the people would not believe him. But God reveals to Moses to tell them I AM sent you. This identity of God will be the foundation of the people’s new relationship with God. Later, it will become the distinguishing factor separating the Jews from the pagans.

When Jesus applied the term I AM to himself, the leaders sought to stone him for, in their minds, he was equating himself with God, which was blasphemy.

Reading 2: Paul picks up on the journey of Israel in the desert. He reminded his Christian readers of how God provided many blessings for his people. But in spite of these signs and wonders, the people still sinned. They grumbled and complain; they were disobedient; they fashioned a god to worship; they doubted God. As a result, Paul says, all who refused to trust in the Lord, died in the desert before seeing the Promised Land.

To us and his Christian readers, Paul says to take note. These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not remain in the state of sin of rebellion and disobedience and thus not see the face of God in eternity. In other words, learn from the past. Do not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Gospel: Our reading tells us what we must do. Repent! Turn away from sin and live a life pleasing and in union with God! Jesus uses the remembered events. He says suffering at the hands of others is not a punishment by God; suffering at a result of a natural calamity is not a punishment by God.

But seeing these things, we are called to repent of our sins, so that, whether we suffer at the hands of others or from some natural or accidental cause, we will not be separated from God.

The third illustration of the barren fig tree shows us what will happen as a result of our own unrepentant misdeeds. If we do not repent, turn to the Lord and bear the fruit of union with him, a day will come when we will be cut down like the tree and thrown into the everlasting fire. The scriptures are clear. God does not want the death of the sinner, but that he repents, reforms and turns back to God.

We have been called by God. We have experienced the compassion and mercy of God in abundant ways. We do not know the day or the hour of God’s visitation. All of this is not said to put fear into our hearts but to help us to respond to the grace God offers us.

The question is: are we bearing the fruit of God’s mercy and love? What does that look like? It is a life in union with God; a life of love and mercy; a life of obedience and surrender to the will of God; a life that will allow us to take off our shoes of sin; a life of looking at the face of God and sharing in his glory.

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