Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent

Disasters and Sinners

The crazy war in Ukraine with all the destruction and killing, you hear people asking, “Why does God allow this to happen?” Innocent people are being killed in the war. Do they deserve to be killed?  No.  These atrocious killings are in no way God’s punishment for the sinners.  But there is evil at play in these recent happenings.  The leaders who want to assert their autocratic will and power over Ukraine could be ardent observers of religious laws and rituals, like some of the Jews who were very observant of the purity laws at the time of Jesus.  To them Jesus asked for compassion and patience, and continues to demand it from every Christian.  Though atrocities cannot be justified, they should remind us look at our own sins and repent.

The terrible flood in Lismore and surroundings was no punishment from God, though people ask, “Why did such bad things happen to good people?”  Though sin is not the cause of natural disasters, they do remind us of the inadequacies of self-reliance and the need to turn to God in repentance.

After stressing the need for repentance, Jesus told a parable. ““A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.  So he said to the gardener, ‘See here!  For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none.  Cut it down!  Why should it be wasting the soil?’  He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it.  If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” (Luke 13:6-9).  Yes life of a Christian is to be fruitful.  ‘I have not done anything wrong in my life’ is not a satisfactory response for Christ.  We are required to produce fruits like joy, peace, and hope for everyone, especially for those in need.  In the mission of bringing peace, joy and hope to the needy we need to work together as a community, as one body of Christ.  Unless we consciously work towards a fellowship, we will hardly be fruitful.  Repentance from our sins therefore, is not just a confession of a litany of our personal faults, but a determination to be Christ to the world through our words and deeds.

Do not think that our God is waiting to catch us off guard in our failure to repent.  Our God is a God of Mercy.  He gives plenty of time and opportunity to revive ourselves from our fallen-ness to a fruitful life through acts of charity and self-discipline.  Lent is a special opportunity to do so.  Let us be fruitful in our Christian living so that we will benefit from the graces of the Resurrection of Christ.