for Sunday, February 28, 2016
Jesus speaks very strong words in the Gospel today. We are called to repentance. We must turn away from our sins and seek to do good. Jesus is very clear with us: if we do no repent, we shall perish. Today, in many cultures, people do not want to hear such a strong message. On the other hand, we cannot preach Jesus and change his message to us.
Let us look at the first two readings and then return to the Gospel. The first reading today is from the Book of Exodus. It recounts for us the encounter of Moses with the living God. Moses is not expecting to meet God. It is God who chooses Moses for a special role among the people. Moses has to come to know God little by little. It is through Moses that we come to know God as well. This is a God who seeks us out, a God who reveals Himself, a God who asks us to live for Him and a God who is always faithful in His relationship with us, even when He asks difficult things of us.
The second reading is from the First Letter to the Corinthians. Again we hear about Moses and our ancestors in the faith. God called them all but was not always pleased with them. Yet God remained faithful to them when they were unfaithful to Him. Saint Paul wants us to be faithful, not to play games with God. There should be no time when we take God for granted, as though we have won salvation and no longer have any work to do. No. Rather we must strive every day to be faithful to God even as we trust in God's love for us.
When we return to the Gospel today, from Saint Luke, we can hear the strong words of Jesus again, realizing now that they reflect fully the tradition of the Old Testament. God loves us intensely and wants our love in return. God does not want us to play games with His love, even though God accepts us as sinner. God wants us to repent of all that causes problems in our relationship with Him.
Why? Because God wants our hearts in this time of Lent. God is not interested in the good works we do so much as in our giving our hearts and our whole being to Him. When we give our hearts and our whole being to God, good works result in abundance. But if we strive to do things for God without giving our heart and our whole being, then we are only playing games with God.
My sisters and brothers, may this time of Lent draw us deep into the mystery of God's presence in our world and in our personal lives. May we open our hearts to Him and seek Him with our whole heart and all our being. May this Lent be a time of repentance and love for us.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Exodus 3.1-8a, 13-15
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10.1-6, 10-12
Gospel: Luke 13.1-9
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: