Posts Tagged ‘Using Our Time Wisely’

Take Care Not to Fall

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Third Sunday of Lent

Ex 3:1:8a, 13-15; 1 Cor 10: 1-6, 10-12; Luke 13: 1-9

Dc. Larry Brockman


“Whoever thinks that he is standing secure should take care not to fall”. Such is Paul’s advice to us in the second reading. Well, just how secure are we then?

Today, we hear about God the Father identifying Himself to Moses, and hence to all of God’s people. We learn than He is the God of the living and of the dead; that He is the only God. Indeed, part of our security rests in believing that there is just one God; and in putting our allegiance, our faith, in him. But that is not all there is to it.

We also hear that, our God is so holy, so almighty, and so awesome, that not even Moses and the prophets, including Abraham, could look directly at Him. God expects, and even demands, that we respect and honor him with a humble and contrite spirit, one that recognizes that life is not all about us; that God is the ultimate authority; and that it is His will that is of utmost importance. All of us need to be right with God and recognize our true self when we stand before him.

In the second reading, we hear the whole saga of the Old Testament Israeli Exodus summed up in one paragraph. God chose the Israelis as his chosen people and saved them from disaster at the hands of the Egyptians. How? Well, He protected and guided them in the shadow of his Spirit, the cloud, during the Exodus. They all emerged from the waters of Baptism, the Red Sea, as a new people, free from domination by the Egyptians. And they all ate of the one food- mana from the desert; and drank the one spiritual gift- the water from the rock at Horeb; which sustained them through the desert- a symbol of the rocky and barren spiritual environment that all of us have to weather in this secular world.

Yet, even in the very wake of these incredible deeds of salvation, the Israelis forgot the Lord and began to worship idols and to doubt God’s providence. As a result, they wandered in the desert for 40 years, and were held back from the promised land. We are told that their “sins”- that is, rejection of the salvation won for them, doubt, and their turning towards the world- are written down for us as examples of what we need to avoid.

Now I suspect that all of us are guilty of the same errors as the Israelis in one way or another. All of us have learned about the Messiah Jesus Christ, and have heard the good news, the Gospel, about how he suffered death because he was obedient to the will of His Father; and how he was resurrected and lives now forever with His father in the kingdom of God. In addition, He left the church to us to pass on His story, and to offer all of us everlasting life if we believe in Him and follow God’s will for us, just as He accepted God’s will for Him in this life.

But despite all of what we have heard and all of what we have professed that we believe, we drift away from God’s will for us from time to time. Temptations, preoccupations with our own condition, desires for things of this world, and laziness, are just some of the symptoms that keep us from listening to and doing God’s will for us. And so, the warning from Paul not to be complacent: “Whoever thinks that he is standing secure should take care not to fall”, also applies to us.

In our Gospel, Jesus tells us that we are all called to repent, that is, to change; otherwise, we will perish as others did. Notice that the Gospel story makes it clear that people are not singled out by God for retribution.  Hence the tower of Siloam did not fall on the guilty, nor were the folks slaughtered by the Romans singled out for their sin. Rather, Jesus tells the people that one cannot know the time and place that we will be called to account by God.

The parable of the fig tree sums up how God will deal with us. Jesus’s mission in Israel was 3 years long, just as the fig tree had been given 3 years to bear fruit. Neither the Israeli leaders nor the fig tree had responded. But Jesus says that God is merciful, and will give everyone an extra “year” to bear fruit. Yes, all of us will be given time after we hear the message to repent. That “year” might end tonight, tomorrow, next year, ten years from now, or whatever. But the point is that we all still have time to repent, to change.

Lent is our opportunity to reflect and change. Use the time wisely.