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Homily: Third Sunday of Lent

By Mons. Peter Jeffrey:

I begin today with a quote from Francis Sullivan. (quote) * You may be wondering: “Who is Francis Sullivan?” He is the CEO of the Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council. Listen again to the quote.

As we ponder about the culture of the Church, the parable from the gospel about the fig tree is spot on. Our god is the patient gardener who says “Don’t cut it down!” God promised to fertilise the tree. “Give it time!” He pleads. It is so good to know that that is how God deals with us – He waits patiently but expectantly for us.

It may prompt us to ask ourselves – “Do I too often give up on other people?” That is certainly a good question for parents as they think about their relationships with their children!

Whether we are parents, or not, we can ask “Do I too readily give up on myself?” God is so patient with me – He is willing to fertilise me so that I may GROW. It is so easy to settle for a static position and stay just where I am.

Lent is just the right time to ask the Spirit – the Holy Spirit – to keep nudging us along our personal “growth path”. There are no ‘Stop Signs’ along the way.

Also - am I personally prompted to become a

“fertilising agent” for others? To do that we really have to be willing and able to listen to others. We cannot do that effectively unless we really listen to them without preconceived agendas. That is not always easy, I find. We need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we do that, there are then three in the relationship.

God never gives up on us. This Lent we may seek to imitate the patience of God by not expecting those around us to always produce, or achieve or succeed according to our expectations. For that attitude to grow, we need the patience of the orchardist in today’s parable.

Footnote - The clerical abuse scandal is a crisis primarily

about the culture of the Church. It may well cause some to

rethink their beliefs and practices, but for me it has been a call to deepen my spiritual practice. To commit to daily meditation and reflection. To draw on the sacramental life of the Church and the richness of the scriptural practices like “lectio divina”. It has been a time to become mature in my faith development, less dependent and literally more adult in my engagement with the institutional Church

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