Faith · Religious life · spirituaility

March 24th – Take off your shoes

Scripture Reflection. . .

Third Sunday of Lent

First Reading:  Exodus 3:1-15

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 103 “The Lord is kind and merciful.”

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-6;10-12

Gospel: Luke 13:1-9

Today we face the question about suffering. Why does it exist? Why does God allow it? In the Gospel Reading people are asking if God inflicts suffering on sinners.  In our time we are hearing the news of a devastating cyclone in Mozambique, mass shooting in New Zealand, floods in the central states of our country.  To each new tragedy, we ask “Why?”

In the Book of Exodus, God tells Moses, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people . . . And have heard their cry of complaint . . . so I know well what they suffer.” In the Gospel, Jesus responds to the question of suffering caused by one’s sins; “Those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them – do you think they were more guilty than everyone else?”

What we do know is that sin causes suffering, both to the one who commits sin and to others. The Greek translation of “sin” means to “miss the mark.”  God shows us what will lead to a fruitful life but so often we miss the mark.  And there are many reasons we miss the mark:  mostly our ego – we choose not to listen and instead follow our own desires which cause us and others harm.

This season of Lent calls us to take off our shoes and come a little closer to God. We are on holy ground.  The image of bare feet on the earth speaks of humility, of being grounded in who we are and aware of our need for God.  And in God we discover a bush while burning is not destroyed; an unproductive fig tree is given nourishment rather than a death sentence; forgiveness rather than punishment.  God will risk his life to find one lost sheep. God rejoices more over one sinner who repents than over all who think they haven’t sinned (Luke 15:7).

Let is embrace this God of mercy and love rather than fearing a false god of punishment and vengeance. We can ease suffering beginning with our own healing and transformation.

In Our Lives as Sisters of the Redeemer . . .

This past week we celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph in a very special way.  Not only is St. Joseph one of the Patron Saints of our Congregation, but twelve Sisters of the Rededmer first arrived in the United States on March 19th, Ninety-five years ago!  The celebration was truly holy ground as we remembered their lives and the sacrifices they must have made in order for our Congregation to bear fruit in a new country.

It was too cold to take off our shoes but we still planted seeds in the holy ground of our school garden. Working with your hands in the soil is a good practice for staying grounded and in tune with the rhythm of creation of which we are a part.

In Your Life . . .

Have you ever stood in front of a mirror and truly seen yourself – without judgement, criticism, pride . . .?

We invite you to take off your shoes, literally and figuratively, and stand before a mirror (doesn’t matter if it’s full length or above your sink).  Now ask God to help you see yourself as God sees you – without judgement, only with love and mercy. Stand there awhile to listen. Don’t be afraid of all the emotions that may surface: humility, shame, grief, hurt, loss . . . Listen for peace, healing, freedom, love, mercy, truth . . .

Now share your response with God: gratitude, sorrow, repentance, hope, love, faith, recommitment . . .

Amen.

Blessings on your week!

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