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Sunday, March 14, 2004

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Third Sunday of Lent

Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15
1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Psalm 103
Luke 13:1-9

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the view from the cross

"I want you to remember this..." —1 Corinthians 10:1

When you're talking with Jesus, it seems like He's always changing the subject to repentance. You might mention how tragic the destruction of the Twin Towers was (see Lk 13:4). Jesus somehow maneuvers the conversation to our need to reform (see Lk 13:4-5). You might mention to Him how pretty your Church building looks (see Mk 13:1ff). But Jesus turns the conversation into the need to be watchful and on guard against tragedy and sin. You're hard at work, and Jesus talks about reforming your life (Mt 4:17-18). Why is repentance always on the tip of His tongue?

The answer to this question lies in trying to put yourself into Jesus' sandals. Imagine walking around for at least three years knowing that you would stretch out your hands and have them nailed to a cross so that others would repent. Picture yourself tied to a pillar and being cruelly whipped until you pass out — to pay the penalty for other people's sins. Imagine hanging in excruciating agony in place of people who could care less whether they sin or not. Now imagine having a heart of passionate love for each person who has no interest in repentance. You're getting a glimpse of Jesus' perspective on the importance of repentance.

If you had to suffer all this, you'd change the subject too. You wouldn't want even one person to lose their soul if you had suffered that much so they could be saved. Be like Jesus and "proclaim this theme: 'Reform your lives!' " (Mt 4:17)

Prayer:  Jesus, may Your death never be in vain for anyone. I will spend my life leading others to You and to repentance.

Promise:  "He pardons all your iniquities, He heals all your ills." —Ps 103:3

Praise:  Praise Jesus, the Healer of my soul!

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 18, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 24, 2003