Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Third Sunday of Lent

FIRST READING (Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15)
In those days: Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, "I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."

When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!"

And he said, "Here am I."

Then he said, "Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."

And he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."

And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the Lord said, "I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey."

Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?"

God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say this to the sons of Israel, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you': this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations."

SECOND READING (1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12)
I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same supernatural food and all drank the same supernatural drink.

For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Nevertheless with most of them God was not pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

GOSPEL (Luke 13:1-9)
There were some present at that very time who told Jesus of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem?

I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

And he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, 'Behold, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?' And he answered him, 'Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"

The barren fig tree's problems

(Word of Life Community)

The kind heart of the Saviour
(Fr Alexander)

The call of God (Moses & the others)
(Theo Nicolakis)


When God chose to speak to Moses out of the burning bush, it was for a specific purpose. He had a plan for Moses' life, and He was about to tell Moses exactly how to start carrying it out. Once Moses had properly positioned himself to hear from God, the Lord spoke: "I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:10).

Moses had hidden his face - now he wanted to hide the rest of his body! Though he had made the proper response to God's glory, he blew it when it came to obedience. "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" he asked God.

Who am I for a task like that?

Whom shall I say sent me?

What if the people don't believe me?

We can all relate to how Moses felt when God told him what He wanted him to do. Moses, felt he would never measure up to the task. And so, the Lord has had to continually reassure Moses, and remind him that He - the Lord - really is in control. The Lord intended to display his greatness through Moses' inadequacy.

Moses' problem was that although he reverenced God, at this stage he didn't "know" Him very well. So, in the dialogue between Moses and God, Moses grows in understanding God's attributes as well as in his appreciation of God in a deeper, more intimate and personal way. We, too, are called to move from "knowing about" Him to truly "knowing" Him.

Because God is beyond our comprehension, what we know about Him can come in only one way: He must reveal it to us. So in response to each one of Moses' objections - lack of faith, lack of authority, and lack of credibility - God revealed more of Himself.

Sooner or later we all go through the problems Moses had. Let's make sure that from reverence and humility before the Lord, we, too, grow in love for Him as well as in confidence in what He can do through us when we surrender to His will. Let's never end up saying, as Moses did, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it" (Exodus 4:13). God doesn't always call the equipped, but he does equip those he calls! He will never ask us to do something he won't enable us to accomplish.
Adapted from an article by Priscilla Shirer, author & Bible teacher in full-time women's ministry.

Stillness of Spirit is an endless worship of God
and a standing in the very Presence.
Let the memory of the name of Jesus
Be present in every breath you take,
And then you will know the value of stillness.
St John Klimakos c.570-649

Thou, O Christ, art the Kingdom of Heaven;
Thou, Oh Christ, art the kingdom of Heaven;
Thou, the land promised to the meek;
Thou, the meadowland of paradise;
Thou, the hall of the celestial banquet;
Thou, the ineffable bridal chamber;
Thou, the table set for all,
Thou, the bread of life;
Thou, the unheard of drink;
Thou, both the urn for the water and the life-giving water;
Thou, moreover, the inextinguishable lamp for each one of the saints;
Thou, the garment and the crown and the One Who bestoweth the crowns;
Thou, the joy and rest;
Thou, the delight and glory;
Thou, the gladness and mirth;
And Thy grace, the grace of the Spirit of all sanctity,
will shine like the sun in all the saints;
And Thou, the unapproachable Sun, wilt shine in their midst;
and all will shine brightly,
according to the measure of their faith,
their asceticism, their hope and their love,
their purification, and their illumination by Thy Spirit. Amen.
St. Simeon the New Theologian (949-1022)


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