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March 11, 2004

For Sunday

Here is the selection for the Handbook for the Third Sunday of Lent, Cycle C. I do believe I have the project finished now.

If you are reading the book, please let me know if there is anything difficult or unclear. Also let me know if there are typos.

Guess what? I sent it off to a publisher today.

Click below for the meditation.

Third Sunday of Lent (C)

The Readings
Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15, Moses and the burning bush
Ps 103, The Lord is kind and merciful.
I Cor 10:1-6, 10-12, They drank from a spiritual rock, and the rock was Christ.
Lk 13:1-9, If you do not repent, you will perish.

St. Gaspar
"Oh how few people know how to suffer! A bundle of wood tidily arranged and carefully piled together is carried with ease, while that same amount of wood, arranged haphazardly or loosely tied together here and there, is carried with difficulty, and is pulled along with twice as much pain. The same can be said about Crosses etc."

"A man who has no Crosses - Oh! In how many dangers does he not find himself! What does God do? He permits calumnies etc. etc. The humbled man looks more deeply into his own nothingness etc. In the delight of his courtly life, David sinned etc. But later, with God permitting, Absalom rebelled against him and David then exclaimed: It was good for me to be humbled,? (Psalm 119:71)

"Tell me, oh Christians: does the press harm the grapes? Not really. Even though it crushes the grapes, it nevertheless dissolves them into a very sweet wine. Tell me: does the file harm the metal? Not really. Even though it roughly scrapes it, it makes it shinier. Does fire harm gold? Not really, for even though it burns it and attacks it, it nevertheless cleanses it etc. Look there at that wood destined for the fire; an artist sees it, he is attracted to it, and with his own instruments, he shapes it and converts it into a work that is worthy of admiration. So, if I were to question the wood to see whether it would have been happier etc?. (From St Gaspar, Scritti, Reform 5., Volume 7, No. 13, p. 34-36)

Politics can be pretty passionate, and often unreasonable. Often for peaceful purposes we do not discuss politics with people who may disagree with us. You can almost imagine the tone of voice of the partisans who confront Jesus in today?s gospel: ?Did you hear? Wasn?t that awful? What a tragedy! What are you going to do??

Often we hold misconceptions of God as a passionate partisan for whatever cause we hold, as if God is only a God of justice, righteousness and vengeance.

Jesus does not ask them to submit to Pilate. He does not require them to acquiesce to Roman oppression. But he has a deep concern for the people in front of him who will destroy themselves and all around them if they do not look first at their own heart. Evil forces are at work in them, too, Pilate, or no Pilate, they must change or be destroyed by these forces. Often those who fight for a just cause will assume that the struggle for justice will make them righteous. It is not possible to be righteous by pointing out the wrongs in others. For Jesus, that would be avoiding the real issue, the soil of each heart that longs for growth.

The God that is revealed here is not a General that takes sides and established justice through the exercise of power. No, God is revealed as a patient gardener looking for fruit. He is willing to do some hoeing and weeding, willing to provide the nutrients, willing to be patient for the growth. St. Gaspar encourages us to let God till the soil and crush the grapes, and to see in our struggle and crosses the true path to justice and peace.

------ What are we doing to allow the Lord to till the soil of our hearts?
------ What changes to we need to make in our demands of God?
------ What is the growth we are looking forward to in our own life?

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at March 11, 2004 9:01 PM

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