Homily  Third Sunday of Lent Year C: Fr. Michael U. UdoekpoReadings: 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
God Yesterday, Today and Forever!
As we journey through Lent with wonderful scriptural passages our confidence continue to grow in God, who is yesterday, today and forever. The God who reigns, who has planted us as a vineyard, fig trees in this life to yield fruits. We are confident in his presence, the God of our Fathers and Mothers: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses. We are confident in his protection, provisions, love and forgiveness, when we turn to him in repentance. He is a God of all moments, events, circumstances and times.
In the times of Moses and of the suffering of the Israelites in Egypt and in the wilderness, God manifested himself, his saving glory them, to the Israelites, through Moses who he discovered during the event of the burning bush (Exod 3). In that event, Moses did not discover God. Moses is discovered by God and he is drawn in to divine purpose. Moses is the human agent of divine salvation. God commissions Moses to go to Pharaoh and to the Israelites. With Moses’ initial objection, God revealed himself 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! He is the one who was, who is, and who will continue to be. God will be what he will be. Who he is cannot be reduce to a single word nor his love limited to a single event.
God manifests himself to us, his human agents, in varied ways, exemplified in the events of the exodus: in the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, in the cloud, in the manna he provided, in the food, in the water from the rock, in the signs, symbols, in the ten plagues, in the crossing of the sea, in the murmuring and in the various trials of his chosen people and of course, through human agents, like the leadership of Moses! Remember, we human are not perfect!
Paul was aware of this. The more reason while speaking to the Corinthian Church, during his time, Saint Paul points to these events, of the Exodus, and to the ever presence of God, in the clouds of events, and in our neighbors. Paul says, “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.”
How many times do we not hear in the Gospels, especially in the Gospel of John that Christ/God is the great I AM, the Ego Emi, who controls all events and has planted us in this life, as vineyard, as fig tree, for a purpose? In today’s Gospel similar message is heard (Luke 13:1-9). Christ invites us in his goodness, not only to repentance and renewal, especially in this time of lent, but he wants us to be that healthy parabolic fig tree, that vineyard bearing good fruits; fruits of selfless services, fruits of love, gratitude, graciousness, forgiveness, faith and perseverance in moments of trials, recognizing his ever presence with us!
That is to say thatour Christian life today, particularly in this Year of Mercy must be daily lived with the consciousness of the exodus events and the ever presence of God in our lives in various and varied ways and moments! Granted that, today the drums of war, terrorism, stories about ISIs, poverty, illnesses, loss of our loved ones, and many other socio- political, religious and economic challenges are still been heard, we want to be like Moses, and be opened to the many ways that God wants to work in us and through us, so that others may experience God’s constant and ever presence, that is Who God Is- through our words, deeds and actions!