3rd Sunday of Lent (C)

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Papal Homilies

Pope Francis

March 13, 2013 – Present

MARCH 24, 2019 | Angelus

God’s Mercy

We must not justify spiritual laziness, but increase our commitment to respond promptly to this mercy with heartfelt sincerity.

The Gospel for this third Sunday of Lent (cf. Lk 13: 1-9) speaks to us about God’s mercy and of our conversion. Jesus recounts the parable of the barren fig tree. A man has planted a fig tree in his vineyard, and with great confidence, each summer, he goes in search of its fruits, but he finds none because that tree is barren. Spurred by this disappointment which has recurred for at least three years, the man considers cutting down the fig tree in order to plant another. So he calls the field hand who is in the vineyard and tells him of his disappointment, ordering him to cut down the tree so as not to use up the ground needlessly. But the vinedresser asks the master to be patient and asks him for one more year during which the vinedresser himself would take special and delicate care of the fig tree, so as to stimulate its productivity. This is the parable. What does this parable symbolize? What do the characters in this parable symbolize?

The master represents God the Father and the vinedresser is the image of Jesus, while the fig tree is the symbol of an indifferent and insensitive humanity. Jesus intercedes with the Father in favour of humanity — and he always does so — and implores him to wait and to give it more time so that it may bring forth the fruits of love and justice. The fig tree that the master in the parable wants to uproot represents a sterile existence that is incapable of giving, incapable of doing good. It is the symbol of one who lives for himself, sated and calm, enjoying his own comforts, incapable of turning his gaze and his heart to those beside him who find themselves in conditions of suffering, poverty and hardship. This attitude of selfishness and spiritual barrenness, is compared to the vinedresser’s great love for the fig tree. He asks the master to wait. He is patient, knows how to wait, and devotes his time and his work to it. He promises the master to take special care of that unfortunate tree.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

FEBRUARY 28, 2016 | Angelus

It’s Never Too Late to Convert

God’s patience awaits us until the last moment.

Unfortunately, every day the press reports bad news: homicides, accidents, catastrophes…. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus refers to two tragic events which had caused a stir: a cruel suppression carried out by Roman soldiers in the temple, and the collapse of the tower of Siloam in Jerusalem, which resulted in 18 deaths (cf. Lk 13:1-5).

Jesus is aware of the superstitious mentality of his listeners and he knows that they misinterpreted that type of event. In fact, they thought that, if those people died in such a cruel way it was a sign that God was punishing them for some grave sin they had committed, as if to say “they deserved it”. Instead, the fact that they were saved from such a disgrace made them feel “good about themselves”. They “deserved it”; “I’m fine”.

Jesus clearly rejects this outlook, because God does not allow tragedies in order to punish sins, and he affirms that those poor victims were no worse than others. Instead, he invites his listeners to draw from these sad events a lesson that applies to everyone, because we are all sinners; in fact, he said to those who questioned him, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (v. 3).

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

homilies

3rd Sunday of Lent (C)

Pope Benedict XVI

April 19, 2005 – February 28, 2013

MARCH 7, 2010 | Angelus

Seeing History with God’s Eyes

An inscrutable design of his love sometimes permits us to be tried by suffering in order to lead us to a greater good.

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus is questioned on certain distressing events: the killing of several Galileans in the temple, on the orders of Pontius Pilate, and the collapse of a tower on some passers by (cf. Lk 13: 1-5). In the face of the easy conclusion of considering evil as an effect of divine punishment, Jesus restores the true image of God who is good and cannot desire evil. And guarding us against believing that misfortunes are the immediate effect of the personal sins of those whom they afflict, says: “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” (Lk 13: 2-3). Jesus asks us interpret these events differently, putting them in the perspective of conversion: misfortunes, sorrowful events must not awaken curiosity in us or the quest for presumed sins; instead they must be opportunities for reflection, in order to overcome the illusion of being able to live without God and to reinforce, with the Lord’s help, the commitment to change our way of life. With regard to sin, God shows himself to be full of mercy and never fails to remind sinners to avoid evil, to grow in love for him and to offer practical help to our neighbour in need, to live the joy of grace and not to go towards eternal death. However, the possibility of conversion demands that we learn to read the events of life in the perspective of faith, animated, that is, by holy fear of God. In the presence of suffering and bereavement, the true wisdom is to let ourselves be called into question by the precarious state of existence and to see human history with the eyes of God who, desiring always and only the good of his children, through an inscrutable design of his love sometimes permits us to be tried by suffering in order to lead us to a greater good.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

MARCH 11, 2007 | Angelus

The Necessity for Conversion

Conversion overcomes the root of evil, which is sin, even if it cannot always avoid its consequences.

In the face of certain disgraces, he warns, it does no good to blame the victims. Rather, true wisdom allows one to question the precariousness of existence and to acquire an attitude of responsibility: to do penance and to improve our lives.

This is wisdom, this is the most effective response to evil on every level: interpersonal, social and international.

Christ invites us to respond to evil, first of all, with a serious examination of conscience and the commitment to purify our lives. Otherwise, he says, we will perish, we will all perish in the same way.

In effect, people and societies that live without ever questioning themselves have ruin as their only final destination. Conversion, on the other hand, while not preserving one from problems and misfortunes, allows one to face them in a different “way”.

First of all, it helps to prevent evil, disengaging some of its threats. And in any case, it allows one to overcome evil with good: if not always on a factual level, which sometimes is independent of our will, certainly on a spiritual level.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana
homilies

3rd Sunday of Lent (C)

Pope Saint John Paul II

October 16, 1978 – April 2, 2005

MARCH 14, 2004 | Angelus

Attacks that Stain with Blood

It is precisely by relying on the united contribution of all the healthy forces of the Continent that it is possible to look ahead with confidence and hope for a better future.

The Gospel that the Liturgy presents to us this Sunday refers to two tragic events that occurred in Jesus’ time: the bloody repression of a rebellion and the collapse upon the surrounding crowd of the tower in Siloam (cf. Lk 13: 1-9). This brings us back to what is happening in our time, unfortunately marked by recurring news of violence and death.

Last Sunday, I referred to hotbeds of war and terrorist attacks that stain with blood various parts of the world. Then last Thursday came the dramatic attacks in Madrid: they took a toll of 200 victims and caused more than 1,000 injuries. The atrocious crime stunned world public opinion. We are deeply distressed at such barbarity and wonder how the human soul can go so far as to conceive such execrable crimes.

In reasserting my total condemnation of these unjustifiable acts, I once again express my participation in the grief of the victims’ relatives and my closeness in prayer to the injured and their families.

The wave of solidarity witnessed in every corner of Spain last Friday, with the participation of the political Authorities of all Europe, caused a great reverberation throughout the world.

It is precisely by relying on the united contribution of all the healthy forces of the Continent that it is possible to look ahead with confidence and hope for a better future. Above all, those who believe in God, the Creator and Father of all human beings, must feel committed to working for the construction of a more fraternal and supportive world despite the problems and obstacles they may encounter in this process, which is only right and cannot be delayed.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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