3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
See our extracts with pictures: 8-)
1st Reading: Exodus 3:1-8,13-15,
Responsorial: Psalm 103:1-4,6-8,11,
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-6,10-12 &
Gospel Reading: Luke 13:1-9.
Liturgical Colour: Violet.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Publisher for allowing us to publish the Mass Readings to be used as reference for Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us around the World.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
1. "God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here am I"" (Exodus 3:4).
In the first reading we heard the account of Moses' vocation. God reveals his own name to Moses: "I am who I am" (Exodus 3:14), so that he would tell it to the people of Israel. This is how a special relationship of trust and familiarity is established between God and his messenger. He is invested with authority as mediator between the people and their Lord. Because of this responsibility, he will become God's instrument for Israel's deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Through his work, Yahweh himself will lead the people for 40 years through the desert to the promised land and make the great Covenant of Sinai with them.
The history of Moses' vocation clearly shows how the call to communion with God, and therefore to holiness, is the necessary premise for every particular mission for the sake of the community and in service to one's brothers and sisters.
The divine initiative, which calls a person to holiness and entrusts him with a special mission in service to his neighbour, shines brightly in the spiritual experience of the three new Servants of God whom I have had the joy today of raising to the glory of the altars: Vincent Eugene Bossilkov, Brigida of Jesus Morello, religious and foundress of the Ursuline Sisters of Mary Immaculate, and María of Mt Carmel Sallés y Barangueras, virgin and foundress of the Missionary Teaching Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.
2. "They drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ" (1 Cor 10:4). The martyr Bishop, Vincent Eugene Bossilkov, drank from the supernatural Rock which is Christ. Faithfully following the charism of St Paul of the Cross, founder of his congregation, he intensively cultivated the spirituality of the Passion. He also dedicated himself without reserve to the pastoral service of the Christian community entrusted to his care and faced the supreme trial of martyrdom without hesitation.
And so this Bishop and martyr, who throughout his life strove to be a faithful image of the Good Shepherd, became one in an altogether special way at the moment of death when he united his blood with that of the Lamb sacrificed for the world's salvation. What a shining example for us all, called to bear faithful witness to Christ and his Gospel! What a great encouragement for those who today are still suffering injustice and oppression because of their faith! May the example of this martyr, whom we contemplate today in the glory of the blesseds, instil faith and zeal in all Christians, especially those of the beloved Bulgarian nation which from now on can invoke him as its heavenly protector.
3. "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love". These words, which today's liturgy presents in the responsorial psalm, sustained and guided the heroic fidelity to the Gospel of Bl. Brigida of Jesus Morello, religious and foundress of the Ursuline Sisters of Mary Immaculate. The events of her varied life - first as a young woman gifted with human and spiritual virtues, then as a wise and faithful wife, a Christian widow and, lastly, as a consecrated person and a guide for her sisters - reflect with exceptional clarity the new blessed's trusting abandonment to the mercy of God who "is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love".
A constant invitation to trust in God shines through her writings. She loved to repeat: "Trust, trust, great heart! God is our Father and will never abandon us!".
4. The first reading from the Book of Exodus presents Moses' calling and mission according to a typical pattern of vocational accounts in the Bible: the divine call, the objections of the chosen and the sign of protection and satisfaction on God's part. These elements are also found in the life of Carmen Sallés y Barangueras, foundress of the Missionary Teaching Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. From her youth, the new blessed focused all her efforts on discerning God's will for her. Various experiences of religious life led her to discover that her mission in the Church was to sow goodness in children and young people, to protect them from the evils that threaten them and to provide women with learning and professional training that would enable them to take a worthy place in society.
Dedicated in this way to women's education, she overcame many dificulties, seeing herself as a "useless instrument in the hands of Mary Immaculate"; she took on daring projects which were the fruit of prayer and the advice of welltrained persons, repeating with firm confidence: "Onwards, ever onwards. God will provide".
A valiant woman, Mother Carmen based her life and work on a Christocentric and Marian spirituality nourished by solid and sensible piety. Her Conceptionist charism, a sign of the Lord's love for his people, lives on today in the witness of her daughters who, as missionaries in schools and colleges, enthusiastically evangelize through their teaching.
5. "Repent, says the Lord, the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Gospel acclamation; cf. Matthew 4:17). The Gospel passage for today, the Third Sunday of Lent, highlights the basic theme of this important season of the liturgical year: the invitation to repent and to perform worthy acts of penance.
The three new blesseds who are presented today for our veneration were able to accept this demanding invitation. It was not an easy path for them. Indeed, they had to face trials and opposition; but they always did so with a heart ready to do God's will to the end. They combatted evil by doing good. Thus, by word and example they became credible witnesses for their contemporaries. With their help, many others have accepted Christ and his Gospel of salvation.
In our time, as we now rapidly approach the third millennium, may the lives of our illustrious brothers and sisters spur us to follow the Lord faithfully on the difficult but shining path of fidelity to Christ.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 15 March 1998)
1. The solemn celebration at which I had the joy of proclaiming three new blesseds has just ended. I affectionately greet all the pilgrims who have come from various countries to honour these heralds of the faith whom today we contemplate in the glory of God.
We give thanks to God for the splendid witness given to the Gospel by our brother and sisters, who are held up today for the veneration and imitation of the Christian people. In their lives they constantly and intensely called on the motherly intercession of Mary, whose devoted and faithful children they always declared themselves to be.
2. In the Immaculate Mother of God Brigida Morello found inspiration and support for her work of Christian formation and the advancement of women, of evangelization and the quest for the unity of the Church.
Mother Carmen Sallés was inspired in her educational work by Mary, the perfect creature, since she was full of grace and totally free from sin. For this reason she founded the Institute of the Missionary Teaching Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, who today have spread to 12 countries across the world.
Throughout his life Bl. Vincent Eugene Bossilkov, a Passionist, Bishop and martyr, lived a humble and docile attachment to the Mother of the Lord. In harsh trials he stressed Mary’s goodness and immense capacity for suffering, writing: “It is truly impossible to be indifferent to the Blessed Virgin’s great tenderness and purity, to the Mother’s great love and abandonment, and to the great patience and resignation of the woman of sorrows!” (Spiritual Exercises, p. 52).
The words and particularly the life of the three new blesseds are further evidence that wherever men and women take the path of holiness, Mary is there to repeat the invitation she made one day at the wedding in Cana: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).
May the new blesseds help us to understand this exhortation, especially as we live this season of Lent, a favourable time for the renewal of our hearts and our lives.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 15 March 1998)
1. Tomorrow, 19 March, we will celebrate the feast of St Joseph. In the midst of Lent the liturgy points out this saint to us as an example to follow and a protector to call upon.
For us, St Joseph is first of all a model of faith. Like Abraham, he always lived with an attitude of total abandonment to divine Providence and thus offers us an encouraging example, especially when we are asked to take God "at his word", that is, without clearly seeing his design.
We are also called to imitate him in the humble practice of obedience, a virtue which shines in his silence and hidden life of hard work. How valuable is the "school" of Nazareth for contemporary man, who is beset by a culture that so often exalts appearances and success, autonomy and a false idea of individual freedom! How necessary it is, on the contrary, to rediscover the value of simplicity and obedience, of respect and the loving search for God's will!
2. St Joseph lived at the service of his Wife and Divine Son; for believers, he thus became an eloquent example of how "to reign" is "to serve". He can be seen as a helpful lesson in life especially by those who have the task of being "fathers" and "guides" in the family, at school and in the Church. I am particularly thinking of fathers, who are celebrating their feast on the day dedicated to St Joseph. I am also thinking of those whom God has appointed in the Church to exercise spiritual fatherhood. Allow me to mention, among these, the nine Bishops whom I will have the joy of ordaining tomorrow in St Peter's Basilica. I ask you to pray for them and for all the Church's Pastors.
May St Joseph, whom the Christian people invoke with trust, always guide the steps of God's family; may he especially help those who carry out the role of physical or spiritual fatherhood. May Mary, Joseph's virginal Wife and Mother of the Redeemer, accompany our prayer and intercede for us.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 18 March 2001)
See our extracts with pictures in Encouragements-207. 8-)
See our extracts with pictures in Encouragements-208. 8-)
""Repent', says the Lord, "for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand'", we proclaimed before the Gospel of this Third Sunday of Lent that presents us with the fundamental theme of this "strong season" of the liturgical year: the invitation to change our lives and to do works worthy of penance.
Jesus, as we heard, recalls two items of news: a brutal repression in the Temple by the Roman police (cf. Luke 13: 1) and the tragic death of 18 people, killed when the tower in Siloam collapsed (v. 4). People interpret these events as divine punishment for those victims' sins, and thinking they are upright, believe they are safe from such accidents and that they have nothing in their own lives that they should change. Jesus, however, denounces this attitude as an illusion: "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (vv. 2-3). And he invites us to reflect on these events for a greater commitment on the journey of conversion, for it is precisely the closure of ourselves to the Lord and the failure to take the path of our own conversion that lead to death, to the death of the soul. In Lent, each one of us is asked by God to mark a turning point in our life, thinking and living in accordance with the Gospel, correcting some aspect of our way of praying, acting or working and of our relations with others. Jesus makes this appeal to us, not with a severity that is an end in itself but precisely because he is concerned for our good, our happiness and our salvation. On our part, we must respond to him with a sincere inner effort, asking him to make us understand which particular ways we should change.
The conclusion of the Gospel passage reverts to the prospect of mercy, showing the urgent need to return to God, to renew life in accordance with God. Referring to a custom of the time, Jesus presents the parable of a fig tree planted in the vineyard. However, this fig tree was barren, it produced no fruit (cf. Luke 13: 6-9). The dialogue that develops between the master and the vinedresser shows on the one hand the mercy of God who is patient and allows human beings, all of us, time in which to convert; and on the other, the need to start to change both our interior and exterior way of life straight away in order not to miss the opportunities that God's mercy affords us to overcome our spiritual laziness and respond to God's love with our own filial love.
Moreover, in the passage we have heard, St Paul urges us not to deceive ourselves: it is not enough to have been baptized and nourished at the Eucharistic table if we do not live as Christians and are not attentive to the Lord's signs (cf. 1 Corinthians 10: 1-4).
Dear Christian families, dear young people who live in this neighbourhood and attend the parish, let the wish to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all involve you more and more. Do not wait for others to come and bring you other messages that do not lead to life; rather, make yourselves missionaries of Christ for your brothers and sisters, where they live, work and study or merely spend their leisure time. Here too, start a far-reaching and thorough vocations ministry, consisting of the education of families and young people in prayer and in living life as a gift that comes from God.
Dear brothers and sisters, the strong season of Lent invites each one of us to recognize the mystery of God that becomes present in our life, just as we heard in the First Reading. Moses sees a bush in the wilderness that is burning but without being consumed. First of all impelled by curiosity, he approaches it to see the mysterious event when suddenly a voice comes from the bush that says: "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exodus 3: 6). And it is precisely this God who sent him to Egypt, charging him to lead the People of Israel to the Promised Land and to ask the Pharaoh, on his behalf, to set Israel free. At this point Moses asks God what his Name is, the Name with which God manifests his special authority, in order to present God to the people and then to the Pharaoh. God's answer may seem strange; it seems both an answer and not an answer. He says of himself simply: "I am who I am". "He is", and this must suffice. God, therefore, does not reject Moses' request. He pronounces his Name, thus creating the possibility of invoking him, of calling on him, of a relationship with him. By revealing his Name, God establishes a relationship between himself and us. He enables us to invoke him, he enters into relations with us and gives us the possibility of being in a relationship with him. This means that he gives himself, in a certain way, to our human world, becoming accessible, as if he were one of us. He faces the risk of the relationship, of being with us. What began in the burning bush in the desert is accomplished in the burning bush of the Cross where God, having become accessible in his Son made man, really became one of us, is put into our hands and, in this way, realizes the liberation of humanity. On Golgotha God, who during the night of the flight from Egypt revealed himself as the One who frees us from slavery, revealed himself as the One who embraces every human being with the saving power of the Cross and the Resurrection and liberates him from sin and death, accepts him in the embrace of his love.
Let us remain in contemplation of this mystery of God's Name, the better to understand the mystery of Lent and to live as individuals and as communities in permanent conversion, so as to be a constant epiphany in the world, a witness of the living God who sets us free us and saves us out of love. Amen.
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 7 March 2010)
See our extracts with pictures in Encouragements-208. 8-)
Unfortunately, every day the press reports bad news: homicides, accidents, catastrophes.... In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus refers to two tragic events which had caused a stir: a cruel suppression carried out by Roman soldiers in the temple, and the collapse of the tower of Siloam in Jerusalem, which resulted in 18 deaths (cf. Luke 13:1-5).
Jesus is aware of the superstitious mentality of his listeners and he knows that they misinterpreted that type of event. In fact, they thought that, if those people died in such a cruel way it was a sign that God was punishing them for some grave sin they had committed, as if to say “they deserved it”. Instead, the fact that they were saved from such a disgrace made them feel “good about themselves”. They “deserved it”; “I’m fine”.
Jesus clearly rejects this outlook, because God does not allow tragedies in order to punish sins, and he affirms that those poor victims were no worse than others. Instead, he invites his listeners to draw from these sad events a lesson that applies to everyone, because we are all sinners; in fact, he said to those who questioned him, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (v. 3).
Today too, seeing certain misfortunes and sorrowful events, we can be tempted to “unload” the responsibility onto the victims, or even onto God himself. But the Gospel invites us to reflect: What idea do we have of God? Are we truly convinced that God is like that, or isn’t that just our projection, a god made to “our image and likeness”?
Jesus, on the contrary, invites us to change our heart, to make a radical about-face on the path of our lives, to abandon compromises with evil — and this is something we all do, compromises with evil, hypocrisy.... I think that nearly all of us has a little hypocrisy — in order to decidedly take up the path of the Gospel. But again there is the temptation to justify ourselves. What should we convert from? Aren’t we basically good people? — How many times have we thought this: “But after all I am a good man, I’m a good woman”... isn’t that true? “Am I not a believer and even quite a churchgoer?” And we believe that this way we are justified.
Unfortunately, each of us strongly resembles the tree that, over many years, has repeatedly shown that it’s infertile. But, fortunately for us, Jesus is like a farmer who, with limitless patience, still obtains a concession for the fruitless vine. “Let it alone this year” — he said to the owner — “we shall see if it bears fruit next year” (cf. v. 9).
A “year” of grace: the period of Christ’s ministry, the time of the Church before his glorious return, an interval of our life, marked by a certain number of Lenten seasons, which are offered to us as occasions of repentance and salvation, the duration of a Jubilee Year of Mercy. The invincible patience of Jesus! Have you thought about the patience of God? Have you ever thought as well of his limitless concern for sinners? How it should lead us to impatience with ourselves! It’s never too late to convert, never. God’s patience awaits us until the last moment.
Remember that little story from St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, when she prayed for that man who was condemned to death, a criminal, who did not want to receive the comfort of the Church. He rejected the priest, he didn’t want [forgiveness], he wanted to die like that. And she prayed in the convent, and when, at the moment of being executed, the man turned to the priest, took the Crucifix and kissed it. The patience of God! He does the same with us, with all of us. How many times, we don’t know — we’ll know in heaven — but how many times we are there, there ... [about to fall off the edge] and the Lord saves us. He saves us because he has great patience with us. And this is his mercy. It’s never too late to convert, but it’s urgent. Now is the time! Let us begin today.
May the Virgin Mary sustain us, so that we can open our hearts to the grace of God, to his mercy; and may she help us to never judge others, but rather to allow ourselves to be struck by daily misfortunes and to make a serious examination of our consciences and to repent.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 28 February 2016)
Note: This webpage has many hyperlinks to the Vatican Webpage. The above extracts were compiled for your easy reading.
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Compiled on 17 March 2019