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February 28, 2016 - Third Sunday of Lent - Fr. James

In our Bible lesson today, Jesus teaches us about God's forgiveness. Through the parable of fig tree Jesus tells us to be productive.  God has "planted" us on this earth and he expects us to produce good fruit in our life. What kind of fruit does God expect? They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and gentleness. When He doesn't see these things in our life, He is very disappointed -- but He is willing to give us another chance.

In the First Reading today we recall Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush. God called Moses by name. There is power in name. It shows recognition. God recognized Moses and everything that concerns him.

Next, Moses was asked to remove his shoes as he was standing on a holy ground. Shoes are used to protect soles of our feet from direct contact with the ground which might be dirty, rocky, hot or cold. Standing before God, Moses was asked to remove his shoes because there is no protection that is greater than that which comes from God.

Within these forty days of Lent we have been asked to climb the mountain of the Lord and to put aside our material comforts and to rely on God.

To Moses, God revealed, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ Why does God name Himself in such a way? We never read of the God of Moses, the God of Joshua, or the God of Solomon. There is some significance with these particular three men. They were given the privilege of being vessels to lead us to God.

When God called Abraham he obeyed. Later he showed his obedience by willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac. God of Abraham means He is God who blesses the one obeys him. Isaac was a gift from God.  He is the hope given to Abraham in a hopeless situation. When Gods says He is God of Isaac it means that God gives us hope in our hopeless situation. God chose Jacob and called him Israel. God of Jacob means he is God who chooses us.

We have been chosen to produce good fruits.  As the fig tree is given one last season to produce fruit before it is cut down, so Jesus is gives us another opportunity to bear good fruits as evidence of its repentance. We are also expected to give others a second chance when they ask our forgiveness. Let us thank God for using others to help us bear fruit

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