Third Sunday of Lent

Engaging Faith | Wed, Mar 3, 2010

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Third Sunday of Lent

March 7, 2010  


Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-151
Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Luke 13:1-9  


March 8: International Women’s Day

March 13: Pax Christi, an international Catholic peace organization, founded in France in 1945

March 14: Daylight Savings Time begins in the U.S. & Canada

The hungry nations of the world cry out to the peoples blessed with abundance. And the Church, cut to the quick by this cry, asks each and every person to hear the pleas of their sisters and brothers and answer it lovingly. Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 3

Humanity needs a profound cultural renewal; it needs to rediscover those values which can serve as the solid basis for building a brighter future for all.                            Benedict XVI, January 1, 2010 

Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church's mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation. 1971 Bishops’ Synod, Justice in the World, 6 

Workers must be paid a wage which allows them to live a truly human life and to fulfill their family obligations in a worthy manner. …. Economic progress must be accompanied by a corresponding social progress, so that all classes of citizens can participate in the increased productivity.  … the economic prosperity of a nation is not so much its total assets in terms of wealth and property, as the equitable division and distribution of this wealth. John XXIII, Mater et Magistra 71-74

Because God is the creator, redeemer, lover of the world, God’s own honor is at stake in human happiness.  Wherever human beings are violated, diminished, or have their life drained away, God’s glory is dimmed and dishonored.  Wherever human beings are quickened to fuller and richer life, God’s glory is enhanced.  A community of justice and peace (thriving among human beings) and God’s glory increase in direct and not inverse proportion.  Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is, 14

Thoughts for your consideration

The scriptures today affirm that God is concerned with the world. In the first reading God looks at the oppressed people of Israel and wants to do something. "I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering.”   God reaches out to Moses and directs him into action.  God is concerned with history. (God is the God of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and all the particular people in history – even people today.) God calls Moses out of the desert and into action - into the divine plan for liberation.  God wants something to happen to relieve the oppression of the people.  God is concerned with justice. 


In the gospel, Jesus is asked about those who were killed by the political activity of the Romans or by the accidental collapse of a building. Jesus does not see these acts as a punishment from God for some evil deeds. Rather Jesus seems to focus on a “reform” by all of us and a transformation in all of us.  Jesus says “But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”


Jesus is concerned with liberation and freedom for all men and women. Jesus is looking for “fruit” or “results”. Don’t focus on judgment. Get focused on action and liberation. That is what God is about.  That is what the Christian community is about.  We are called to be concerned with justice and the plight of those who are oppressed.  God wants us to focus on environmental justice, economic justice, just international relations, and a commitment to peace.


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group 

In the first reading God looks at the oppressed people of Israel and wants to do something for them. God reaches out to Moses and directs him into action.  What does God see as God looks on the world today?  Does God see any injustice that calls out for action?
How does one work for social change and liberation in our world today?  What would the God of the burning bush say to a Moses today?

In the gospel, Jesus says “But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”  What is the repentance that God calls for today?  What is the change that we as a community are being called to work for? 

Catholic Coalition on Climate ChangeThe Catholic Coalition on Climate Change offers many resources about Catholic teaching and action recommendations around this important environmental issue at their web site at  International DebtMany of the poorer nations of the world are oppressed or “enslaved” by large debts to the more developed world.  For more information and to take action online go to 

International Women’s Day

March 8 is International Women’s Day. The web site for the United Nations Development Fund for Women has some very helpful resources.

“Crazy Facts”
The United States uses twice as much energy per person as Germany or France.
Energy Usage per Person
Rank     Countries                      Amount
# 1        United States:               8.35 TOE per person    
# 2        Canada:                        8.16 TOE per person    
# 3        Finland:                        6.4 TOE per person      
# 4        Belgium:                       5.78 TOE per person    
# 5        Australia:                      5.71 TOE per person    
= 6       Sweden:                       5.7 TOE per person      
= 6       Norway:                        5.7 TOE per person      
# 8        New Zealand:                4.86 TOE per person    
# 9        Netherlands:                  4.76 TOE per person    
# 10      France:                         4.25 TOE per person    
= 11      Japan:                         4.13 TOE per person    
= 11      Germany:                      4.13 TOE per person    
# 13      United Kingdom:           3.89 TOE per person    
# 14      Ireland:                         3.86 TOE per person    
# 15      Switzerland:                  3.7 TOE per person      
# 16      Denmark:                      3.64 TOE per person    
# 17      Austria:                         3.52 TOE per person    
# 18      Italy:                             2.97 TOE per person    
DEFINITION: Total primary energy supply TOE (tonnes of oil equivalent) per person (Year 2000).
SOURCE: lEA, Energy Balances of OECD Countries 1999-2000 (lEA, Paris, 2001)

Prayers of Intercession
Response:  God of compassion, hear our cry for justice.


For all women and men who are denied their human rights, we pray….
For all people caught up in the violence of war, we pray….
For all our political leaders, that they will lead us away from war and toward peace, we pray….
For all children who do not have enough to eat or a decent place to live, we pray….
For all those who do not have access of good health care, we pray….
For all refugees and immigrants who are struggling to find a home with dignity, we pray….
For all women who struggling for justice, especially as we approach International Women’s Day, we pray…
For all those who are discouraged as they seek to act for justice and liberation for all, we pray….


God, you are good.  The world is filled with your goodness.In Jesus, we have seen your love and your desire for transformation.In the Spirit, alive today, we know your healing love and radical, loving wisdom.You passionately desire human happiness.   

God, we’ve noticed that some people have distorted your record and have even ruined your good reputation.  Whenever any human life is violated, your glory is dimmed and dishonored.            Whenever humans engage in the ways of violence, your spirit is hindered.  Whenever our beautiful world is abused, your presence is less visible. Whenever the systems of our world keep the poor poor, you are hard to fine. 

God, we desire to restore your reputation and expose the wonder of your glory. Wherever human beings are quickened to fuller and richer life, your glory is enhanced. Whenever we can complete the ministry of reconciliation, your spirit comes alive. Whenever there is a community of justice and peace, you are alive among us. God, help to get into action. 


Inspired by a quote from Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, in She Who Is, page 14