March 3, 2013 — Third Sunday of Lent
It would seem appropriate during Lent that Holy Scripture would issue some warnings to us. In effect that is what occurs throughout the readings for this Third Sunday of Lent. Each reading contains a caution to us, or a strong suggestion.
St. Paul does not mince words in his letter to the Corinthians. In Paul’s last statement in this scriptural passage, he issues a warning that is so applicable to us for Lent — “Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.”
The parable in Luke’s Gospel addresses exactly the same issue that Paul wrote about. In terms of historical context, this Gospel is near the end of His ministry, as His Crucifixion is fast approaching. The Lord is particularly disturbed by the way those who listen to Him are ignorant of the significance of His presence, the magnitude of this historical time.
Simply put, many scholars agree that we are that fig tree. Jesus’ warning to us is particularly crucial during our Lenten appreciations — it is not the appearance of holiness — through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving — which is important. It is the fruits of our penitence that are important.
Living as a Christian steward is a response to Jesus’ call to discipleship and holiness. The steward nonetheless must be on constant watch — constant preparation. Stewardship, like our foundations for Easter throughout Lent, is an ongoing journey — a daily exercise and challenge. We, too, must take care “not to fall.”