3rd Sunday in Lent 2022

On this third Sunday of Lent, with hear of the spiritual journey of Moses. We hear of the beginning of the vocation, the calling of Moses. When we think of Moses we see him as great instrument of God. We think of Moses as the great leader of the Israelites. We recall Moses invoking the power of God and leading the people out of Egypt through the Red Sea. We think of Moses having this amazing moment invoking the power of God – to do the impossible. And through Moses, the people are led from slavery to freedom.

One way to understand Scripture is to look at the action. What is the action of our first reading? Moses is in a humble position- he is leading a flock of sheep. He then recognizes the presence of God in something easily overlooked – in something subtle. Later in his life Moses will go from leading sheep to leading God’s people. But the action is the same – movement led by God – in moments great and small.

This is the movement of our lives. This is the movement of Lent. We move from the slavery of sin to the freedom of God’s grace. We have a personal exodus. We move from whatever has a hold of our spirit, whatever sins act like chains on our heart, we seek to cast them off with the promises of Christ’s forgiveness and mercy. We repent of our sins, commit to amend our lives and move forward as disciples of Christ. This is the movement of repentance. This is the call of Christ in today’s gospel.

We hear the call of Moses in our first reading. Moses had to be on the lookout for the unexpected. Moses sees something unusual. He sees a bush that will not be consumed by flame. This is famously referred to as the burning bush. Moses sees the presence of God in this unusual experience. Before Moses has the amazing moment at the Red Sea, he has a humble moment at the burning bush. Our lives are the same way.

Everything with God is not some great spectacle. We need to recognize God in the unexpected subtle moments of our lives. We need to be open in our awareness to how God seeks to call us forth to our true identity. We need to be on the lookout for opportunities to grow in the spirit. Notice Jesus‘s words in today’s gospel. In Jesus’s parable of the fig tree, the gardener will allow the tree one more year because he will cultivate the ground.

What do we do to cultivate our relationship with God? What is our spiritual plan? Do we pray every morning? Do we review our day in the evening? Do we place our words and deeds on the scales of Christian behavior? Do we wake up each day determined to live as a disciple of Christ? Are we aware of what feeds our soul? Do we read Scripture? Do we have devotions? Do we spend time asking what God desires for us?

Today let us seek to continue our Lenten journey. Let us cultivate our spiritual ground so that we may grow in God’s grace. If we do these things then we will move from slavery into freedom. We will truly live in the Spirit of our God.

First Reading
Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15

A reading from the Book of Exodus

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro,
   the priest of Midian.
Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb,
   the mountain of God.
There an angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in fire flaming out of a bush.
As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush,
   though on fire, was not consumed.
So Moses decided,
   “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight,
   and see why the bush is not burned.”

When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely,
   God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
He answered, “Here I am.”
God said, “Come no nearer!
Remove the sandals from your feet,
   for the place where you stand is holy ground.
I am the God of your fathers,” he continued,
   “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”
Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
But the LORD said,
   “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt
   and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers,
   so I know well what they are suffering.
Therefore I have come down to rescue them
   from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land,
   a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Moses said to God, “But when I go to the Israelites
   and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’
   if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”
God replied, “I am who am.”
 Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites:
   I AM sent me to you.”
God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites:
   The LORD, the God of your fathers,
   the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,
   has sent me to you.
“This is my name forever;
   thus am I to be remembered through all generations.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 103: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11

R. :

℟. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
   and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits.

℟. The Lord is kind and merciful.

He pardons all your iniquities,
   heals all your ills,
He redeems your life from destruction,
   crowns you with kindness and compassion.

℟. The Lord is kind and merciful.

The LORD secures justice
   and the rights of all the oppressed.
He has made known his ways to Moses,
   and his deeds to the children of Israel.

℟. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
   slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
   so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.

℟. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Second Reading
1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12

The life of the people with Moses in the desert was written down as a warning to us.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
   that our ancestors were all under the cloud
   and all passed through the sea,
   and all of them were baptized into Moses
   in the cloud and in the sea.
All ate the same spiritual food,
   and all drank the same spiritual drink,
   for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them,
   and the rock was the Christ.
Yet God was not pleased with most of them,
   for they were struck down in the desert.

These things happened as examples for us,
   so that we might not desire evil things, as they did.
Do not grumble as some of them did,
   and suffered death by the destroyer.
These things happened to them as an example,
   and they have been written down as a warning to us,
   upon whom the end of the ages has come.
Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure
   should take care not to fall.

Acclamation before the Gospel
Mt 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Lk 13:1-9

If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did.

✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
   whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
Jesus said to them in reply,
   “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
   they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
   you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
   when the tower at Siloam fell on them—
   do you think they were more guilty
   than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
   you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
   “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
   and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
   he said to the gardener,
   ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
   but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
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.’”

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

All reply:

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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