Third Sunday of Lent
Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12 Luke 13:1-9
The scriptures for this next Sunday focus our attention on the Lenten call to conversion. When God calls Moses by name in the reading from Exodus, Moses immediately responds, “Here I am!” and comes closer. He answers God’s call even though he is afraid and confused. In a similar way Christ calls each of us by name, especially in the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Above all during the season of Lent he desires above all that we answer, “Here I am!” and come closer to him. It is all right if we are confused or afraid. It’s even all right if we haven’t really listened for his call yet this Lent. The Scriptures give us a second chance to listen for Jesus’ call, to come closer to his voice, and to move farther away from sin in our lives.
How can we tell when we are responding to Jesus’ call? For that we look to the metaphor of the fig tree in the Gospel parable. Through the Sacraments, the Scriptures, and the Christian community, Jesus Christ—the gardener—has been cultivating the ground around us and fertilizing us in the hope that we will bear good fruit. Will we? Are we barren because our root system doesn’t grow deep enough to tap into real spiritual nourishment? Is our growth stunted by choices we are making? Is our energy channeled into our healthy, flowering branches, or sapped by a hundred scrawny shoots? Do we turn in on ourselves and prevent the light of the Son from ripening what little fruit we bear? While the Elect who are preparing for Baptism scrutinize their lives to discover how Christ is calling them to conversion, all of us must scrutinize our lives as well. Those who are listening for Jesus’ call and turning to the sound of his voice will bear succulent fruit so the hungry can eat their fill.