Jesus wants us to place ourselves in His hands
Reflections on the readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (March 24, 2019): EX 3:1-8,13-15; PS 103:1-2,3-4,6-7,8,11; 1COR 10:1-6,10-12; LK 13:1-9
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
In the first part of the Gospel reading for today Jesus addresses two instances of people who suffer and die, one group were brutally killed by Pontius Pilate and the other apparently died in an accident.
His listeners tend to think that they brought these calamities on themselves through sin. Jesus says this is simply not true, that they were no greater sinners than any other group of people. What all people need to understand is that every person is guilty of sin and must seek God in repentance. Our Lord wants us to ask for His mercy and guidance in becoming the good, loving people He created us to be. We cannot do it on our own. Moreover, a heart turned away from God is far more tragic than death because our souls are called to live for eternity with Him – if that is what we choose for ourselves by embracing His grace.
Jesus then tells the crowd a story sometimes called the parable of the fig tree, but also known as the parable of the second chance. A land owner tells his gardener to cut down a fig tree that has not produced fruit in three years, but “He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down” (Luke 13:8-9). Our Redeemer wants all who follow Him to know that Almighty God gives us every chance to approach Him with contrite hearts, to open ourselves to His will – and to bear fruit by offering Him our lives in sincere faith and humble gratitude.