Sunday, March 3, 2013

Third Sunday of Lent
In the middle of today’s reading from Exodus, God says:So I know well what they are suffering.”   My astonishment with this phrase may be due to the fact that I do not normally associate such compassion with God.  Self-reflection, however, forces me to question, Why do I not connect God’s love with the suffering of humanity?  How is it that I can have such lofty ideas of God and not get even to first base regarding Who truly God is?

Sometimes I feel privileged to have gained an “education.”  However, college degrees sometimes make you (me?) proud, which sadly, also distances you from other, “less fortunate,” folk.  Happily, our faith is nourished by a “system” of spiritual care, that “brings us home again” to the real God, not the God of my own brainy fabrication.  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob sees the awful suffering of the Israelite people in Egypt.  He is a God whose “compassion” never burns out, and makes our “space” into “holy ground.”  God says to Moses: “I have witnessed the affliction of my people… and have heard their cry…”  No wonder God can tell Moses “I AM” for he makes our own existence His own.

Today, Jesus offers us a chance to be good trees again.  Earlier, the twice-repeated plea to repent hearkens back to Ash Wednesday (“Repent… believe in the Gospel”).  We have a “year” (Lent?) to cultivate the ground so as to become the “holy ground” of God's presence in us.
Gracious God, grant us the grace to be true to the spirit of repentance… and the grace to be filled with Your compassion, “to know well [our neighbor’s] suffering.”  We make our prayer in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Fr. Marcel Rainville, S.S.E. ‘67, Director of Formation for the Society of St. Edmund

First Reading: Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15
Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Gospel: Luke 13:1-9

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

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