Thursday, February 28, 2013

"But I tell you, if you do not repent."

The Gospel for this Third Sunday of Lent, March 3, 2013, sounds a bit angry and threatening, and we must talk about that. Is God as we have known him really furious and offended, demanding infinite justice? If so, the following should be our slogan: “Be afraid, be very afraid.” Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.
Two Seemingly Random Tragedies

Two recent tragedies were on people's minds. Pilate had ordered the massacre of some Galileans who had come to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices in the temple. And eighteen people had been killed when a tower at Siloam fell on them. Jesus comments that the victims of these tragedies were no greater sinners than other people were.

The Fig Tree & the Gospel of Repentance

Jesus explains his meaning in a parable: The “fig tree” is Israel, God’s beloved chosen people (Jer 8:13; Hos 9:10). For three years, Jesus was in their midst, proving in every possible way that He was the Messiah, for whom they longed. The hard-hearted did not bear the “fruit” of faith in Him. He preached a Gospel of repentance, but they did not believe they needed it.

By telling a parable about a barren fig tree, Jesus emphasizes the point that there is still time for repentance. When Jesus responded to what people told him about the sins of others with a firm exhortation to repent, he gave us an important and helpful warning about our own lives.

Are We Bearing Fruit?

Our work - most especially in this period of Lent - is to determine if we ourselves are bearing fruit. It is not for us to do inventory on the fruit of the other "trees". If we, like “some people” in the Gospel story don’t think that we need to repent, we immediately place ourselves at the top of the list of the people who do. This Lent, let us keep our focus where it needs to be; on our sins to bring us to repentance, and not on the sins of others.

Click here to view all the homilies we have compiled for this Third Sunday in Lent (Cycle C). We have compiled a full resource on the other important events around our Catholic world in this week's issue of You can find them by clicking here.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief
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