Our God of Second Chances

3rd Sunday of Lent
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran 

On this third Sunday of Lent, the Church provides us with another moment of grace to straighten us on our journey. Today, we celebrate the Lord who frees us from our slavery to sin, if only we listen to His warning to repent. Repentance is, feeling sorry for the sin we committed and a firm resolve not to deliberately commit it again. Sincere repentance provokes God’s compassion, mercy, and love.

The first reading taken from the Book of Exodus, tells us about the deep concern of God towards his people suffering in Egypt. He sees the hardships experienced by his chosen people and observes their misery. God had heard their cries of misery and takes initiative to liberate them from the Egyptian masters. God shows His mercy to His chosen people by giving them Moses as their leader and liberator. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob reveals Himself to Moses from the burning bush and assures Moses of His Divine presence with His people and of His awareness of their sufferings in Egypt. He declares His intention to choose Moses as the leader who will rescue His enslaved people. Then God reveals to Moses His name as Yahweh (“I AM Who AM”) and renews the promise He made to the patriarchs to give them a “land flowing with milk and honey.

In the second reading, St. Paul warns us that our merciful God is also a disciplining God. Paul reminds the Christians of Corinth that they must learn from the sad experience of the Israelites who were punished for their sins by a merciful but just God. The merciful and gracious God is also just and demanding.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus informs us that those who do not repent will perish. On the other hand, Jesus tells us a parable about the patience of God. As the fig tree is given one last chance to produce fruit before it is cut down, so Jesus is giving His people one final opportunity to bear good fruits as evidence of its repentance. Through this parable, we are reminded of the patience of a God who is willing to give sinners a chance to reform their lives and to seek reconciliation. Just as the farmer tended the barren fig tree with special care, so God affords sinners whatever graces they need to leave their sinful ways behind and return to God’s love and embrace.

Divine grace is expressed as justice with compassion and judgment with mercy. However, we cannot draw strength and sustenance from God without producing fruit. Our fruit should consist of repentance, confession, and firm commitment to change our lives. Let us produce good fruit when we can, Let us repent while we have the chance. Let us turn to Christ, acknowledge our faults and failings, and receive from his mercy, forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life. There is no better way to take these words of Jesus to heart than to go to sacramental confession. There is no better time to go to confession than during Lent. Repentance helps us in life and in death. It helps us to live as forgiven people and helps us to face death without fear.

Our merciful Father always gives us a second chance. The prodigal sons returning to the father was welcomed as a son, not treated as a slave. The repentant Peter was made the head of the Church. The persecutor Saul was made Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. During Lent, we, too, are given another chance to repent and return to our Heavenly Father’s love.

One Response to “Our God of Second Chances”

  1. pussywillowpress Says:

    Thank you for promoting the Sacrament of Confession!

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