by Fr Francis Anthony
1 Corinthians 10:1-6,10-12
Theme: Repent and Believe the Gospel
We are practically halfway through Lenten Season. This Third Sunday is reminding of in the First Reading, the journey that the people took after Moses takes over that responsibility and in the Second Reading it is highlighting that.
But if you pay close attention, in the First Reading (in the episode of the burning bush), Moses in the wilderness saw the bush burning and he was intrigued it was not being burnt. He went to look and the voice came:- Take off your sandals, the place is holy.
Then it goes on:- I know my people are suffering. I am the God of your father, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. And Moses, you go and deliver them.
And Moses comes out and asks:- But if they ask me the name of the God who sent me?
And uses this word ‘YAHWEH‘ which we are very familiar. It just means ‘I Am Who Am’. The ‘I Am’, the eternity of God, there is no past, there is no future, the ‘I Am’. “‘I Am’ is sending you.“
My dear friends, let us pay close attention. These whole readings these last three Sundays, including this Sunday, it is giving the concern of God for each one of us.
What happens to very many of us, it is Lenten Season I must do penance, I must do this, I must say that prayer, I must go for this Mass, and we are taking this nice spiritual exercises as a sort of penance. It is wrong.
Saying my prayers is not penance. Going for Mass is not penance.
And I am, through these exercises, being linked to that God who knows I am trying my best to reach out to Him. He knows that and that is what He told to Moses in the First Reading.
I know my people are suffering. I want you to go and save them.
Likewise, all our spiritual exercises are means for us to say ‘Yes’ to God. And this has come in more beautifully in the Responsorial Psalm that we had today and it says:-
It is He who forgives all your guilt.
That is God. He forgives.
And He heals everyone of you.
And it goes further-
He redeems you your life and He crowns you.
So these are the things that God is doing. And during this period of Lent, let us ask God to be able to see His goodness. Do not let us go ‘Oh He’s a tyrant. He will punish me so I make all my penances so that I would not be punished’.
We do not have a tyrant as a God. We have someone who has compassion and love.
So during this Season of Lent, let us go through the spiritual exercises, let it be prayer, fasting or alms giving, as a means to say:-
‘Yes, I recognise You reaching out to me. And in my human weakness, within the abilities that I have, I am trying to reach out to You.’
Yes, there is a drawing which shows God reaching out His hand and the other is a person (don’t know who that person is. Very many of us say it is Adam. No.) and the other person reaching out. I hope you have seen that picture, one of the paintings of Michaelangelo, if I am not mistaken.
God reaching out and we reach out to that God. So all our spiritual exercises is our effort to say:-
‘Yes, God, I thank you. You are reaching out to me with all my weakness. Help me to reach out to You, to recognise You are a God who is a Father to me. You are a God who has compassion and pity on me. You are a God who loves me.’
And our Responsorial Psalm will be meaningful.
And look at the Gospel text. That guy planted a vineyard and going out to look for fruit. Three years none and he just wanted to cut it off. But the gardener there told: Give me time. That is Jesus:-
I am in their midst, not just locked up in the Tabernacle. You have sent me I am in their midst. Together with the Holy Spirit, we will continue to show your love, your mercy to them. And they will change.
It is a God, now we say, who has hope in us because He has given himself to us.
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