Third Sunday of Lent

Posted on Mar 26, 2019

24 March 2019

Some of you will remember that on Ash Wednesday as we imposed ashes we first asked you a question: “Will you turn from sin and be faithful to the Gospel? We’ve been using that question ever since I came to St. Joe’s.

I was introduced to that question by the pastor of my first assignment, John Heagle. On Ash Wednesday that first year we asked that question. An eighth grade boy came forward, I asked the question and got nothing but a blank stare. I asked again. The same stare. Then he got out of line but stood nearby as others came forward. He listened intently and then finally got back in line. I asked the question again and he said, “I don’t know what the heck that means Father but sure, I’ll give it a try.”

I suspect that might be the response of many of us.

The conversion Jesus asks for in the Gospel today is really a two fold conversion. That’s why the story of the fig tree is appended to it.
We are not only to turn from sin but embrace a whole new way of life.

The turning from sin is the easy part. Most of us here are not murderers. We don’t lie, steal or cheat. So we think we’ve got it down. But that’s not the real conversion that is asked for by Jesus. Embracing a whole new way of life, being the people who love our enemies, doing good to those who hate us and harm us. That is the new life to which we are all called.

So as Lent is nearly half over, I ask you again, Will you not only turn from sin but will you be faithful to the Gospel?