Who Is God? - Bishop Barron's Sunday Sermon
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, on this Third Sunday of Lent, we have the privilege of reading one of the most important texts in the Bible: God addressing Moses from the burning bush. In this passage, the true God manifests his own identity: he is closer to you than you are to yourself, yet higher than anything you can possibly imagine. And he gives himself a name: “I Am Who I Am”—not a being among beings, but Being itself.
Daily Gospel Reflection – Third Sunday of Lent Year C
March 20, 2022
Third Sunday of Lent Year C
Gospel: Lk 13:1-9
Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them— do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”
*United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel includes the parable of a fig tree that bears no fruit.
This is a standard trope in the theological literature of Israel: the tree that bears no fruit is evocative of the moral person who bears no spiritual fruit. Every single person has a mission: to be a conduit of the divine grace into the world. Planted in God—think of Jesus’ image of the vine and the branches—they are meant to bring forth the fruits of love, peace, compassion, justice, nonviolence.
And notice that this should be effortless. The closer God gets, the more alive we become. But the mystery of sin is that we resist the invasion of God; we prefer to go our own way; we cling to our own prerogatives and our own narrow freedom. And the result is lifelessness. It feels like depression, like your life is going nowhere—in Dante’s language, like being “lost in a dark wood.”
In Jesus’ parable, the one caring for the tree begs the owner for one more chance to “cultivate the ground around [the tree] and fertilize it,” hoping to bring it back to life. But if no life comes, the tree will be cut down. This is the note of urgency that is struck over and again in the Bible. We can run out of time. We can become so resistant to God’s grace that our leaves dry up. This is not divine vengeance; it is spiritual physics.
So don’t be afraid of God! Surrender to him.