Thoughts on the Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Lent (C) 2019

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/032419-yearc.cfm 


This weekend we celebrate the third Sunday of the season of Lent.   Our Gospel this Sunday comes in two seemingly unrelated sections.   In the first section (Lk. 13:1-5) Jesus rejects the Jewish belief that bad things happen to people because they have sinned.   He refers to two incidents in which people had either been killed or died in an accident.  He then states unequivocally that “By no means!” did they die because they were sinners.    

In the second section of this Gospel (Lk. 13: 6-9) Jesus tells a parable of a fig tree that had borne no fruit.   The owner of the vineyard wants to cut it down.  “Why should it exhaust the soil?” he asks."   The gardener responds by asking for one more year so that he can “cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future.  If not you can cut it down.”   

The connecting point for these two sections is clear.  We may not experience judgment in this life for our sins, but judgment eventually will come.   God is incredibly patient, but ultimately there will come a time of judgment for all of us. 

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of Exodus.  It contains the wonderful story of Moses’ encounter with the burning bush.   In this encounter Moses had this exchange with 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.’”   This is an important and profound moment.  The fact that God would tell Moses’ God’s name is a sign of God’s covenant with God’s people and God’s abiding presence with them. 

Our second reading for this weekend is taken from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.  In it Paul reminds us that the things that happened to the Israelites happened “as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things as they did.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. When bad things happen to people, especially good people, if they aren’t a punishment from God, why do they happen? 
  2. If someone asked you by what name you call on God, how would you reply?
  3. God is incredibly patient with us, but ultimately there will be a time of judgment.  What’s your image of the final judgment?  
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Comments

I've been thinking on this concept a lot. In my opinion, bad things happen to everyone, of course in degrees and various ways. I don't believe God is punishing us. I believe God gave us life. We are to see the beauty, learn from the tough/pain and honor God's gift of life.

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