Homily 3rd Sunday of Lent Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Exod 3:1-8a, 13-15; Ps 103:1-4, 6-11 and 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12 and Luke 13:1-9
The Ever Presence of Christ, in our midst
As we journey through Lent with the scriptures our confidence in God continues to grow. We are confident in his presence, protection, provisions, love and forgiveness, when we turn to him in repentance.
Let me begin with the 2nd reading of today. While originally addressed to the Corinthians’ Church, Paul wants us today to learn a lesson from the Book of Exodus (Exodus= going out), the goings and the comings of Israel, their trials and difficulties in the desert, how they reacted to these trials, and of course the role of Moses in the 1st reading.
Paul warns, “I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, yet God was not pleased with all of them.....These things happen as an example for us.”
Significant in the 1st reading, the Exodus story, that Paul is referencing, is God’s choice of his people and his readiness to liberate and save humanity through human instrument, Moses, whom he called. With Moses’ initial objection, God revealed himself ( in the burning bush Exodus 3:15) as the one who is (ayeh ahser ayeh, ego eimi), who creates, who controls, who protects, who intervenes in human history, who liberates, who provides, who redeems, who forgives, who fulfills his promises, and the one who saves!
Again, it is a meaningful name, “I am who am,” for each of us, old and renewed Israel to remember, especially in the face hunger, thirstiness, and temptations to complaint, to disobey, object, resist, murmur or doubt the presence of God in our midst. God is always there! Moses, Christ and Paul knew this!
Our Christian and daily living is an “exodus.” Think of our going and coming. Each day many of us wake up, exit our homes, come to the church and from the church we exit to our cars, offices, places of meetings, shops, farms, gardens, court and class rooms, business areas, enter and exit trains, boats and planes and return home most of the time safely with our friends, children, and grand children.
These are not without ups and downs. Sometimes our cars are broken down and at another time, we find ourselves locked out of our rooms, or stuck in the desert of frustration and starvation. Our computers are broken or our telephone lines are not going through or the batteries need recharging. In our offices and work environment we are tempted to over-judged, serve but ourselves, consumed in our self-confidence forgetting the role of God in our journeys and the invitation to exit and empty ourselves for others. Paul warns us not t be like some the ungrateful Israelite.
Similar warning is heard in the Gospel reading of today (Luke 13:1-9). Christ invites us in his goodness, to repentance and renewal, especially in this time of lent. He wants us to be that healthy parabolic fig tree, bearing good fruits; fruits of selfless services, fruits of love, fruits of gratitude and graciousness, and fruits of faith with the recognition of his ever divine presence in our midst, homes, study rooms and places of work.