“A Just and Merciful God” 3rd Sunday of Lent C
Ex 3:1-8, 13-15, Lk 13:1-9
1. Human Situation
We live amidst a spiral of violence. So many people die in our society.
There is violence that is inflected on the unborn.
There is also the violence caused by poverty and injustice. It may be bloodless but it can cause death – due to malnutrition or sickness.
There is the violence of those who want to change society.
There is also the violence of those who want to protect the state. There is the vindictive violence of capital punishment.
What is the gripping the city at present is the violence of the Death Squads. Petty criminals are summarily executed by order of those who are supposed to maintain law and order.
John Paul II refers to this as the culture of death.
Whenever these things happen, we ask: is this the will of God? Is this divine punishment?
There are people who look at God as the great punisher. They think of God as a harsh judge who immediately punishes sinners and wrong-doers.
2. The Word of God
The first reading from the book of Exodus tells us that oppression, suffering and death are not willed by God. God is merciful whose will is the liberation of people from everything that oppresses and dehumanizes them – from all form of evil caused by sin.
In our Gospel, Jesus also makes it clear that violence and death is not the handiwork of God, neither are they punishment for sinners. Human beings – like Pilate -- are responsible for violence, suffering and death.
Jesus reminds us that God is merciful. God is not quick to punish people, God always give them a chance – a chance to repent and be converted , a chance to change their ways.
3. Challenge for Us
The season of lent is a time for us to look into ourselves and respond to Christ’s call to repentance and conversion.
We also need to look at our society and respond to the call to transform it so that the culture of death and the spiral of violence are eradicated and mercy, justice and peace will prevail.