THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
Well here we are nearly at the midpoint of Lent the third Sunday, of course the midpoint is next Wednesday 3 weeks in with three more to go. With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the thought that came into my mind on Friday was Here today gone tomorrow. After his resignation coming into force at 8pm on Thursday the popes name is automatically taken out of the intercession in the Eucharistic Prayer and all other official references made of him in the Liturgy cease. In the same way when a pope dies his ring and seal are both smashed by the Cardinal Camerlengo and the papal apartments are sealed until the new pope is elected this all took place on Thursday evening. I’m sitting here just after 8pm on Thursday evening thinking has all this happened and as we know it has and so life goes on as we reflect on the readings for this Sunday
In this Sundays gospel we hear again the urgent call of the Christ to change our way of life, to repent, to begin a new relationship with God our Father. The passage shows the compassion of Jesus, but this compassion does not exclude the need for repentance. To undergo resurrection in Christ is to undergo the judgment of God! Indeed, the time of Lent is nothing other than the time of the life of the Church: these forty days of repentance are the days given to the Church in order that she might prepare for her meeting with the risen Jesus, the Lord of Lords, He who is “the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev. 21:6).
God, in his mercy, gives us time to get right with him, but that time is here and now not in the past and not in the future. We must not assume that there is no hurry. There is always a hurry when it comes to faith because a sudden and unexpected death leaves us no time to prepare to settle one’s accounts when we must stand before the Lord on the day of judgment. Jesus warns us that we must be ready at all times. The Lord in his mercy gives us both grace and time to turn away from sin, but that time is right now. If we delay, even for a day, we may discover that grace has passed us by and our time is up.
As a Church, we learn from the lessons of history and we remind ourselves that we the people of god and the Church we are part of are always in need of renewal and purification. We are in the middle of Lent; it is that time of the year when we have a lot to think about but the message of today’s readings is clear. It is that the task that lies before us is one of repentance. This means that we need to examine our consciences carefully and admit to God our sin and unworthiness and in all humility seek his forgiveness. In simple terms the urgent call of the Christ to change our way of life and leave all the sinful ways behind us as we look forward in hope to a better life the eternal life offered us by the risen Lord at Easter.