Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year C
Theme: One More Chance
By: Rev. Fr. Ameh Sylvanus
Homily for Sunday, March 24 2019
Readings: Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15; 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12; Luke 13:1-9
1. As Lent progresses, the message of the season heightens. More and more, we hear the call for us to evaluate our lives and our spiritual journey. Today, we are presented with a view of the past and the future and requested to use them to assess and amend our present. The First Reading recalls the beginning of the immediate processes of our liberation. In the Second Reading we are exhorted to learn from the mistakes of our spiritual forebears, for their experiences “were written down for our instruction” and from the Gospel, we learn that using these experiences, we must ask ourselves whether we are doing as God expects of us, not forgetting what future awaits those who don’t. From the readings of today’s Mass, we shall draw two lessons, on repentance and second chance.
2. In the gospel text, two disastrous events were reported to Jesus, and Jesus uses them to caution us on the need to repent and be on the side of God. Basically, Jesus tells us that we must not be carried away by our good fortunes, for the absence of misfortune does not mean the presence of virtue. That calamities elude us does not mean we are holier people, neither does it mean that those they befall are sinful. Very strikingly, Jesus says we must repent, or we too shall perish.
3. In the first reading, as Moses approached to behold the burning bush, God told him to take off his shoes, for he was standing on holy ground. The command to take off shoes can also be understood as a call to repentance. The shoes here signify any and everything that can constitute an obstacle to our approaching God, and obviously, that thing is sin. So, God says to Moses, “take off your shoes.” God is also giving the same command to us today to take off our shoes. Today, God is saying to us:
>take off your shoes of lies and deceit
>take off your shoes of malice and envy
>take off your shoes of gossip and slander
>take off your shoes of fornication and masturbation
>take off your shoes of bribery and fraud
>take off your shoes of adultery and pornography
>take off your shoes of homosexuality and lesbianism
>take off your shoes of drunkenness and anger
>take off your shoes of greed and selfishness
> take off your shoes of laziness and gluttony
It is only when we heed this call of God to take off our shoes of sin that we shall see the glory of God, which is the desire of any serious Christian/believer.
4. Immediately following from repentance, is Lesson II, which is on the chances God gives us to “take off our shoes.” Everyday is a gift from God and an opportunity to repent. Sometimes, when people offend us, we tell them that we are giving them the “last chance or last warning.” If God gives us last warning, this world would have ended long ago, so, he instead, gives us second chances. This is the lesson from the parable of the barren fig tree Jesus told in the gospel reading. And the vinedresser said to the owner of the vineyard, “Sir, give it one more year.” In many and various ways, God has been giving us “one more year.” For instance,
* when we fall sick and get well, it is one more chance
* when we escape an accident, it is one more chance,
* whenever we have the opportunity to go for confession, it is one more chance,
* when we sleep and wake up (day or night), it is one more chance,
* when we come to church and hear God’s word, it is one more chance,
* even as you hear/read this sermon, you just had one more chance.
5. It is important for us to note however, that the chances we get from God are limited. While God is not limited in capacity to give us more chances, we are on the other hand, limited in capacity to receive them, and we can only have more chances only as long as we are alive. Interestingly, we do not know when we will die, so the wisest thing for us to do is to use our chances well. Scripture tells us that “the axe is laid at the foot of the tree” (Mat 3:10), meaning that the end is not far, and in 2 Corinthians 6:2, the Word of God says “Now is the favorable time, today is the day of salvation.” Let us therefore heed the admonition of Ecclesiastes 12:1 to remember now our God, in the days of our youth, that is, while we still have time. Child of God, by the very fact of this sermon, God just gave you and I a second chance. What will you do with yours?