Homily — 3rd Sunday Lent C March 11, 2007

Homily — 3rd Sunday Lent C March 11, 2007

Moses and the Burning Bush Tiffany Stained Glass Window

Are you a “burning bush,” or a “barren bush”?

In today’s First Reading and Gospel we encounter two very different kinds of plants.

The first reading from Exodus introduces us to the Burning Bush. The Burning Bush is a plant that is always giving off light, always giving off warmth, to anyone who comes near it.

The burning bush is also a plant that speaks. And whenever it speaks, words of encouragement, deliverance, and wisdom can always be heard.

The burning bush is blazing with fire, but the fire never burns it out.

Now, we all know that the burning bush Moses encounters is none other than the LORD God Himself.

But just as we have been made in the image of God, and are called to reflect that image, so we are made in the image of the Burning Bush.

And therefore, We are called to be always light giving, always heart warming, to everyone we meet.

We are called to always speak words of wisdom that encourage and liberate.

We are called to be totally consumed by the fire of God’s Love, to offer our lives and our wills as a continual holocaust to the LORD, because then and only then will we truly be able to say “I am.” — I am fully alive, fully the man or the woman God has created me to be.”

We are called to be like the burning bush of the First Reading, but too often we find ourselves more like the barren bush, the barren fig tree in the Gospel Reading.

That fig tree Jesus speaks of is fruit-less. Those who come to this tree hoping to be fed, hoping to find sweet fruit, always leave disappointed.

The barren bush never plants any seeds, never spreads new life around.

Instead, it selfishly sucks up for itself the precious nutrients in the soil, taking them away from others, and having nothing to show for it afterwards.

Too often we are more like that barren bush.  Our sins keep us from bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we disappoint the people that come to us desiring to find the sweetness of a smile or understanding ear.  Because of our sinfulness, we don’t even plant any seeds of faith in the hearts of those around us.
The Burning Bush’s name is I AM; The Barren Bush’s name is “I am Not”, or maybe “I was, once upon a time.”

And so, my brothers and sisters in Christ, are we Burning Bushes or Barren Bushes?

Actually, we all start out as Barren Bushes. But Christ the Divine Gardener wants to change each of us into Burning ones.

The Season of Lent is a time when we allow Christ to cultivate and fertilize the soil of our hearts.

By means of our daily regimen of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, Christ the Gardener starts to clear the soil of weeds and rocks that hinder us from bearing good fruit.

Jesus gives us the grace to uproot the weeds which are the false gods we plant in our hearts alongside the true God.

Christ also gives us the grace of repentance, which is the only way to get rid of the boulders of serious sin and the smaller rocks of venial sins which keep us from bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

And once our soil has been cultivated through prayer fasting and almsgiving, then Christ the Gardener fertilizes our soil with the blood and water gushing forth from His pierced Heart upon the Cross.

Now is the time to be cultivated and fertilized by truly entering into the spirit of Lent. If we don’t bear fruit today, Jesus says we risk being cut down tomorrow.

May Christ give us the grace of repentance and conversion, that He may not only cause us to bear the Fruits of the Spirit abundantly in our lives, but cause us to be aflame, and to set the world on fire, with His eternal burning love.

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