3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C (2022): Ex 3:1-8a,13-15; 1 Cor 10:1-6,10-12; Lk 13:1-9
Sunday, March 20, 2022
Homily Notes for the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C (2022): Ex 3:1-8a,13-15; 1 Cor 10:1-6,10-12; Lk 13:1-9
· If you were a kid growing up on the 1980’s, you likely watched the animated series Transformers. Far superior to the CGI movies created in recent years, Transformers was a truly sensational series and I for one waited patiently for Saturday morning cartoons to watch the autobots and decepticons do battle.
· The catch phrase for the very singable theme song (which I will not sing) of the show states that when it comes to Transformers, robots in disguise, Transformers, more than meets the eye.
· Forgive my childhood nostalgia but this idea of more than meets the eye came to mind when reading these three readings for the Third Sunday of Lent.
· Consider firstly the encounter between Moses and the Burning Bush. It was truly an otherworldly sight for Moses to see a bush enraptured with fire but not in the least being consumed, enough to intrigue him to cautiously advance closer to behold the wonder before Him. In this moment, God wished to appear in a veiled form to shelter Moses from his glory and show the people of Israel that when he appeared under the guise of fire, it was a sign of his presence, his glory, his judgment and his jealous love for His people.
· But what was more than meets the eye in this scene was that the Burning Bush was also a revelation of the nature of God as the Holy Trinity. The burning bush, perpetually aflame but never consumed, revealed God’s being as eternal, without beginning or end. I am who I am was revealed in the Burning Bush as the remarkable mystery of God as self-subsistent Being, with no start or end to God, no growth in power or wisdom and not contingent on anything else in existence to be. God simply is and will never not be.
· Consider secondly St. Paul’s recollection of the sojourn of Israel in the desert and his mention of the spiritual rock that accompanied them. The tradition of the rabbis of Jesus’ time was that the rock that Moses struck to give the people water at Horeb was a rock that would mysteriously follow them from place to place, appearing when water was needed and serving as a sign that God would provide for his people, even if they were being tested in the desert for their lack of trust and disobedience.
· But St. Paul saw in this mysterious rock something more than meets the eye. He saw it as a sign of Christ’s presence among the chosen people in the desert and a foreshadowing of that time when, he like this rock, he would be struck and water would gush forth to nourish God’s people. That moment was the Cross when his heart was pierced and water mysteriously poured forth as a sign of baptism coming unto the world.
· Yet interestingly in what is known as the Palestinian Targum, an Aramaic translation of the Exodus story that was well known in the 1st century BC, it claims that the rock in the desert, when struck, did not only provide water, by mysteriously blood also gushed forth! This is an even more profound foreshadowing of the cross and the blood that issued from the pierced side of Christ as a sign of the Eucharistic blood that will forever nourish God’s people in Holy Communion.
· Consider thirdly the teaching Jesus offered about the tragic events that had occurred against members of the Jewish people when some of them perished in the tragedy of the collapse of the tower of Siloam and those victims of Pilate’s persecution that also resulted in sacrilegious actions to occur. The popular belief of the time was that these people died because they were sinners, so they got what they deserved. But Jesus taught that what was more than meets the eye was this interpretation of events was false and that people should not presume they perished on account of their sins. Rather, he taught people should withhold their judgment about why tragedies unfold and instead focus on their own lives and see in what ways they could endure a fate worse than death were they to die in their unrepented sins and endure the torments of hell!
· There was also more than meets the eye in Jesus’ parable about the fig tree for he was not simply sharing a story of horticultural techniques in caring for trees but was referring to the fig tree as a symbol of God’s people who had for 3 years rejected Jesus and his messianic reign and would in time know great sorrow when the Legions of Rome would conquer Jerusalem and destroy the temple of God, thus cutting down the fig tree of this parable.
· In this Lenten season when we are called to deeper prayer, we might look at it also as an opportunity to grow in our knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures, so that in time we can know and understand many of the deeper meanings found within.
· This homily today is an example where I had to spend time with biblical commentaries and writings of the saints to come to a better appreciation of the hidden meanings within. It is hopeful that such a practice would not solely be the undertakings of a priest for his Sunday homily but would be something we would also seek to learn with the right guidance in regards to understating the scriptures.
· All of God’s people are invited to daily encounter Him in the Living word of God and through prayer such as Lection Divina and study come a richer and living giving knowledge of those words which bring us to everlasting life.