Eucharistic Readings for the Third Sunday of Lent: Year C
“No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” (Luke 13: 3 &5 NRSV)
Verses 3 and 5 say the same thing about people being killed. One was caused by human evil and one caused by an unexplained mishap. In any case, bad stuff happened that caused human loss of life.
A word or two about what it means to perish before we look into what repentance is all about. To perish here means (to me), to cease to exist. It is not the being brought into the heavenly realm promised to those who believe and repent of their sins. To perish is the opposite of eternal life. Repentance avoids perishing.
Denial, retaliation, and minimization are sometimes the reasons we feel we don’t have to repent.
Denial of wrongs we have done or left undone does not alleviate or lessen the wrong done or undone. It still happened. It is what God is aware of and we have to own it. Then the process of repentance can begin.
Retaliation or eye for an eye is no excuse for evil done to another. There is no excuse to perpetrate evil of any kind. We are Christians, retaliation is not what we are called to do.
Minimization is the act of reducing the damage done in our own minds so that we don’t feel so bad about the harm done to others. Minimization is the act of lying to ourselves. We must empathize with the one we have impacted and get their feelings in our head. Only when we become the victims we created will we fully understand the damage caused.
The point of this Luke reading is repentance, and to repent as early as possible. Whether it’s human fault or natures fault, it makes no difference. This very evening is not promised to us. Are their acts, words, and/or thoughts that we wish we had not had or committed? The time to set it right is now.
We must remember that God brought us into being from nothing, and it will be into nothing that we will return if we do not accept God’s invitation to live in eternity through repentance as did those for whom Jesus spoke, and from whom we are no different.
The tree in the story is a metaphor for us as we are given another chance for repentance with the help of the Pastor/Prophet/Son of God. This Holy Helper (Jesus) will assist us in turning back to God. Thanks be to God. Thank You Lord Jesus.
Continue to pray for Ukraine.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John