Third Sunday of Lent 2019



Ex. 3:1-8, 13-15; Ps. 103; 1 Co. 10:1-6, 10-12; Lk. 13:1-9

Where Is God?

I’ve asked myself this question countless times in the face of catastrophies, tragedies and diseases! The people of Jesus’ day, reporting to him the news of some local tragedies, challenged him with the question “Why?” Jesus replied that there is no connection between a misfortune and presumed guilt, between a sin and a consequent punishment. Instead, there is an urgent, powerful and clear need to undergo conversion.

To undergo conversion means to change our way of seeing things. It means penetrating the depths of our hearts so as to recognize our limitations and weaknesses. It means being “intelligent”: able to read things starting from the inside, from the twists and turns of our personal history and choices.

We all need to undergo conversion, otherwise we will be like the fig tree in today’s short Gospel parable: a tree that takes up space and makes the farmer waste his time because it bears no fruit. But in spite of this, God is patient. He gives time to those who are struggling to change and put his transforming activity into practice in their daily lives.

Thus we come to understand that God knows how to wait because he trusts human beings. He knows that sometimes we act impulsively and other times slowly. He knows that we learn some things with ease and stubbornly reject other things. He knows that we have a lot of good intentions but that many times we are incapable of searching for authentic and true answers because, seeing around us the evil that leads to sorrow, suffering and tears, we find it easier to adopt a resigned attitude and simply say: “It’s fate!”

If only we were to contemplate his work more attentively!

I really like the image of the farmer because it helps us understand what God is doing with us: he doesn’t cut; he prunes. He doesn’t uproot; he transplants. He doesn’t slice; he grafts. He doesn’t take; he welcomes.

Because our God never tires of showing us the beauty of perpetual blooming.

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
He pardons all your iniquities
and surrounds you with kindness and compassion.
Merciful and gracious is the Lord,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.

Fr. Giovanni Di Vitopastor of Sts. Erasmus and Martin Parish, Bojano (Campobasso), Italy