3rd Sunday of Lent

Sunday March 20, 2022

I had an interesting thought while looking at the reading for today. In the excerpt from Exodus, Moses is called by God to deliver the Israelites from enslavement in Egypt. God identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and pronounces that his name is I AM. If we remember the Exodus story, we will recall that more than once Moses steps into the breach to stop God from destroying the people Moses had been asked to shepherd, the Israelites. They are an unruly group of disobedient malcontents, but Moses wants to teach and tend them, so he asks for more time. Each time, Moses calms the ire of God, and the Israelites are given another chance to grow and bear the fruit of fidelity. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable of the man who owned an orchard of fig trees. One tree was devoid of fruit. The owner demanded the gardener cut that tree down. The gardener pleads to be allowed to tend the tree for a year and not destroy it. The hope of bearing fruit calms the owner’s ire. I had never seen the connection between the readings in that way before, equating the gardener with Moses. Then I wondered, who steps into the breach for me? I know I have disappointed God, though hopefully not to the point of God wishing to destroy me, but a disappointment nonetheless. I need an advocate, someone who will tend to me, teach me, so I can bear fruit. My teachers have been many over the years, especially my parents. But then it dawned on me! Really my best teacher, my advocate, the one who tends, shepherds, and nurtures me is the Lord, Jesus Christ. The I AM of my life—my everything! Now, I just need to be a better pupil.

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