Third Sunday in Lent
March 24, 2019
Lent: It’s not like it was in the “Good Old Days.” Hello, I’m Franciscan Father Greg Friedman and this is the Sunday Soundbite for the Third Sunday of Lent.
It’s true the Lenten fasting rules are not what they were in the memory and experience of many older Catholics. The emphasis today in our Lenten observance has shifted somewhat. We stress the “baptismal” character of Lent. It’s a time when we re-affirm our Christian identity, and support those preparing for Baptism. Repentance is still a Lenten focus, and today those two themes come together in our Scriptures.
Take a cue from St. Paul, who creatively retells the story of the Israelites in the desert, to remind the Corinthians that being baptized means a life of repentance. A Christian is to live differently, to constantly have a spirit of conversion.
It’s a theme Jesus picks up in the Gospel, correcting popular notions about why bad things happen to good people. All of us, Jesus says, must be “reform-minded.” God doesn’t single out anyone by sending tragedies or natural disasters. We all have opportunities–not unlimited, of course–but opportunities nonetheless, to turn from sin and accept God’s love. It’s what Baptism commits us to do.