Pastor's Desk: 3rd Sunday of Lent

Posted 6th March 2010 in Pastor's Desk

Welcome everyone to our Eucharist on this the 3rd Sunday of Lent. It can be around now that our enthusiasm and vigour for our Lenten observance can begin to wane! How are you doing? If you have caved in, then do not despair because you can start afresh this week and continue to the great festival of Easter. Lent is about trial and effort and none of us want to give up after falling at the first fence.

Our Gospel today sees Jesus hearing about the cruelty inflicted on a group of Galileans by Pontius Pilate; he had their blood mingled with that of the animal sacrifices. This showed Pilate’s contempt for the faith of the people and a total disregard for the people themselves. At the time of Jesus it was common among the Jews to see personal misfortune and tragedy as an affliction from God for some sin committed by the person themselves or their ancestors. Of course, the opposite also applied; a person for whom all was going well was obviously being blessed by God and was being rewarded. Jesus turns this thinking on its head when he challenges his hearers about the Galileans, “Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.”

Jesus then goes on to tell them the parable of the fig tree which does not produce its fruit for three years. The owner wants to cut it down but the vineyard keeper says he will make a special effort to encourage it to produce fruit this year and then, if there is still nothing, cut it down. The message to us is clear. The tranquility or turmoil of our lives is not an indicator of our standing with God; it boils down to the fruits of Christian living we are producing. Lent is a chance to balance the books in that regard.

Faith Commitment

We welcome especially today the boys and girls who will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation this April. Today at the Family Mass they will make their Faith Commitment in preparation for the Sacrament. They will come forward with a list of the things they intend to do between now and April 30th that will show they are followers of Christ. This is, if you like, the fruits by which we will know them. We wish them every success in living them out.

First Penance

This is also a special week for the girls and boys celebrating their First Eucharist in May. On Monday and Tuesday evenings at 8.00pm, Fr. Gary, Fr. Donald and I will celebrate First Penance with them. Many of you will remember it as First Confession and it may or may not be a happy memory, but the way we celebrate it today is truly a time of sensing the joy of God’s forgiveness. We congratulate the boys and girls as they receive another of the Seven Sacraments of the Church.

Have a great week.
Fr. Eoin

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