Third Sunday of Lent -C March 7th , 2010

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Dear Friends,

The gospel of today’s liturgy narrates two incidents. Pilate was a ruthless ruler. Some people had come all the way from Galilee to worship in the temple of Jerusalem. We do not know what offense they committed on that occasion. The fact is that Pilate sent his soldiers and had the Galileans slaughtered as they were worshipping in the temple.

Another incident is: A tower had collapsed crushing to death eighteen people who were inside at that moment in Siloam.

People in those days were of the idea that whenever a misfortune overtook a person, it is a sign that either the person or someone else in the family was guilty of serious sin. Our Lord clearly calls in question this view. He makes us understand that the misfortune that brings the suffering cannot be understood extensively as punishment for personal sin. Jesus declares: “No, I tell you” (Lk.13..3) Then he adds: “But unless you repent you will all perish just as they did”. (Lk.13.3).

Repentance means turning away from sin and turning to God. Turning to God means first of all entering into one’s self. There is no conversion without this turning to one’s own core, to one’s heart or conscience. The person must discover his or her deepest self and at the same time his higher self, God.

“Unless you repent you will all perish. (Lk.13.5). A moment of repentance, a real conversion, a moment of grace is worth more than the whole universe. It can square the account of a whole life. It can bring about in anyone whomsoever what Jesus promises to his companions in torment: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk.23.43).

The incidents of Pilate mingling the blood of Galileans with their sacrifices and the tower of Siloam falling and killing eighteen people, tell us of the fragility of life and the certainty of death. The victims of these disasters had no time to prepare for their death. We hear of so many sudden deaths. For example the recent Chilean earthquake, killing about 900 people.

Let us therefore heed the words of our Lord: “unless you repent, you will all perish”. (Lk.13.5).

May God bless you all
Fr. Chris