“Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in kindness.” — Psalm 103:8
Feb. 28, Third Sunday of Lent
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15
Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11
2) 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Gospel: Luke 13:1-9
By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service
In the reading from Exodus, God speaks of his intention to come down and rescue his people from the tyranny of the Egyptians, revealing that his mercy is not merely felt, but results in action.
The psalm response, too, speaks repeatedly of the mercy of God toward us, his people. We are to remember that he pardons our sins and redeems our lives from destruction. God is slow to anger and abounding in kindness toward those who fear him, the psalmist tells us.
In the Gospel, Jesus gets to the core of our response to God’s mercy in his reference to the barren fig tree. The owner comes and finds it without fruit for the third year in a row and instructs the gardener to cut it down. No, the gardener contends, “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.”
Lent is a special time for us to consider how we can respond to God’s generosity by showing mercy and performing acts of charity and justice toward others.
Thinking about my friends who were already showing the mercy of God in their actions, I came up with too many to list. They varied in age, race, gender and social status. Some were collectively engaged in mission work extending from Latin America to Russia, from Africa to Indonesia. Others were kind and good to their neighbors and families — to those close to them.
All shared joy and a sense of purpose and mission in what they did. They knew that their connection to God, their obligation to live out the love of God poured into their hearts was what kept them going.
My lesson for Lent will be to see how I can imitate their acts of goodness in my own life and in my own contacts with others, so that when the gardener checks on me, he might find me fruitful right (Read More)