Lenten Reflection – 24 March – The Third Sunday of Lent, Year C
Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15; Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-11; 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12; Luke 13:1-9 (Different Readings apply for the Scrutinies Mass)
Form a new heart within.
“And he answered him, ‘Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure, And if it bears fruit next year, well and good and if not, you can cut it down.”...Luke 13:8-9
St Cyprian of Carthage – (c 200- c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church
The good of patience, 6, 7-8
“This, beloved brethren, Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, did not teach by words only but he also fulfilled by His deeds… In the very hour of His passion and cross… what violent abuses He listened to with patience and what shameful insults He endured! He was even covered with the spittle of His revilers when but a short time before, He had cured the eyes of the blind man with His own spittle(Jn 9:6)… He who now crowns the martyrs with eternal garlands was Himself crowned with thorns, He who now gives true palms to the victors was beaten in the face with hostile palms; he who clothes all others with the garment of immortality was stripped of His earthly garments, He who has given us the food of heaven was fed with gall, He who has offered us the cup of salvation was given vinegar to drink. He the innocent, the just man, nay rather, Innocence itself and Justice itself, is counted among criminals and Truth is concealed by false testimonies. He who is to judge is judged and the Word of God, silent, is led to the cross. And although the stars are confounded at the crucifixion of the Lord, the elements are disturbed and the earth trembles… yet He does not speak, nor is He moved, nor does He proclaim His majesty, even during the suffering itself. He endures all things even to the end with constant perseverance so that in Christ, a full and perfect patience may find its realisation.
And even after such sufferings He still receives His murderers if they are converted and come to Him and, with a patience instrumental in saving man, this kind Master closes His Church to no-one. He not only receives and pardons those adversaries, those blasphemers, those persistent enemies of His name, provided they do penance for their offence and acknowledge the crime committed but He admits them to the reward of the kingdom of heaven. What can be called more patient, what more kind? Even he who shed the blood of Christ is given life by the blood of Christ. Such is the wonderful patience of Christ. And unless it were so wonderful, the Church would not have had Paul, the great Apostle.”
This Sunday brings us closer to the font of renewing our baptismal commitment.
It is also the first of three Scrutinies for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
We are deeply aware that there is a struggle going on in us.
We turn to God, that we might not become discouraged.
We rely on God’s compassion and love for us.
We acknowledge who we are
– sinners who experience the consequences of our selfishness –
but we know we are loved and we desire to be filled with hope.
We go into this week renewed in our desire to continue our
prayer, fasting and generosity toward others.
Bless the Lord, O my soul
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy…
So many times I turn away from You
and always You welcome me back.
Your mercy and love gives me confidence
Thank You for the invitation to share, fast and pray
so that You can form a new heart within me.
Your powerful compassion for my weaknesses
leads me to ask for mercy
and await with great hope the Easter joy You share with us.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.