Homily for 3rd Sunday in Lent 2022

Posted on 27th March, 2022

3rd Sunday in Lent

20 March 2022 SVP


Consider for a moment, if you will, Moses. Here he is on the edge of the desert, minding his sheep and minding his own business. It was where he needed to be; to keep out of harm’s way. He was a wanted man over the border in Egypt, where he was born; born of a slave woman, sequestered into the most prestigious palace in the land and brought up as a grandchild of the pharaoh. But he always knew he was different and one day he killed a man of power who was abusing one of the Hebrew slaves. He was seen and had to flee and found his way into Jethro’s family, where he was welcome but was always a stranger.


Misplaced person. Rootless person. One who was brought up a prince in the most powerful land of the time and now finds himself a shepherd on the edge of civilisation.


And God called him because God needed him.


So often, God calls those who others don’t need. God calls them and gives them a mission. Moses’ mission was to lead the Hebrew people out of a life of servitude in Egypt, into the land God had promised Abraham and his descendants.


Out of calamity came salvation.

Hundreds of years later, Jesus is trying to change the way of thinking of his fellow Hebrew people; the same people that God saved through the mission of Moses. These are the people who should know God the most and yet they seemed to know so little of him. They were a stubborn and ignorant people, who were so convinced that they were the chosen people of God that they no longer listened to God but made up their own image of God to suit their own desires and their ambitions.


So, they would believe that any accident that befell someone was an act of God to punish them for past sins or failures. They would believe that any sickness was a sign that God had abandoned the sick person. They believed that poverty and wretchedness were signs of God’s retribution, and wealth and power were signs of blessings and God’s favour. Tell that to Moses in his powerless state of a shepherd on the edge of the desert.


If their way of thinking was right, then Jesus was doomed to be a failure in the eyes of God. He was from the backwater village of Nazareth. He was 30 years old and had seemingly achieved nothing. He was a wondering preacher, bound for failure. He was now in his 3rd year of preaching and doing good for the people but there was nothing to show for it. He was on his way to Jerusalem and everyone knew that his life was threatened there. The powerful were after him. He was a fig-tree that could bear no fruit. And his death on the shameful cross would be proof of his enemies’ opinion of him.


But Jesus turns upside down the values of these people. “Blessed are the poor; - he says - blessed are those who mourn; blessed are those who think they are hopeless and have no future of any value; blessed are those who stand up and are counted as troublemakers and disturbers of the peace, when they seek justice and equality for all. Blessed are those who are crushed and wounded and abandoned by the powerful and the rich” – “for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs”.


God calls those whom others would not call, to continue his mission of redemption. God calls those whom others would not consider, to continue his mission of reconciliation. God calls those who are rejected by kings and queens, to build God’s Kingdom. David overcame the strength of the giant. Moses overcame the power of Egypt. Theresa of Avila overcame the corrupt of her congregation. Francis of Assisi still leads the church along the road of reform today.


God calls each one of us here today and gives us our mission, our place in the building of God’s Kingdom. Like Moses, like Jesus before, let us say “yes” to God and let each moment of this day be a moment of transforming witness which will take us another step forward to the realisation of God’s plan for us all.   

Terry Madden 

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