From the First Reading we see that from the burning bush, Moses is called by God to lead his people out of slavery into freedom. God has not forgotten his covenant, his promise to Abraham.
The Psalm too recalls God's kindness and mercy, his inexplicable mercy to sinners.
The Second Reading, from the first Letter to the Corinthians, explains to us "that God's saving deeds in the Exodus were written down for the Church, intended as a prelude and foreshadowing of our own Baptism by water, our liberation from sin, our feeding with spiritual food and drink." (Scott Hahn)
These acts of God from the Exodus that Paul recalls, are also given as a warning to us. Like the Hebrews of old, we too have failed to heed God's call, thinking ourselves to be self-righteous. Being a child of Abraham is no guarantee that we will reach the promised land of our salvation.
Faithful to his promise, God the Father sent Jesus to redeem all lives from destruction. The parable of the Fig tree speaks, on the one hand, of God's patience, but, on the other, of the urgency of the call to conversion.
Jesus warns us in the Gospel that we could perish at any moment. But this is not seen as God's punishment for being "great sinners," but because, like the children of Israel in the desert, we stumble into evil ways, fall into grumbling, and forget all the wonders of the Lord.
The call of Jesus to repentance is not a one-time deal, but a transformation, a choice, we must make every day.
The fig tree was given one last chance to produce fruit before it is cut down, so too Jesus is giving Israel one final opportunity to bear good fruit, which is the evidence of their repentance.
Lent is like that one last season for the fig tree. A chance to hear the Lord's call in our lives, a grace period in which we let Christ work in our hearts and souls as a gardener works on the fig tree, cutting away what chokes it, trying to cultivate good fruit. For us, fruit that will last into eternity.
A word of thanks to all who helped with the Fish Fry. Keep up the good work!
God bless you all,
Father Robert Letona