3rd Sunday of Lent (Cycle C)

Scripture Reflection for the Third Sunday in Lent

by Brandon Jubar

Reading I: Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
GOSPEL: Luke 13:1-9

Called By God

“I feel called to do it.” It’s one of those phrases that you hear quite frequently in religious circles. And well you should, for when God wants us to do something, God “calls” us. I am called to write and work with youth, others are called to sing, and still others are called to work with the poor. It seems like such a wonderful thing. But how do we know that we haven’t misunderstood God’s call? How do we know that we are truly doing God’s will?

Understanding the Call

Unfortunately, most of us will never experience God speaking directly to us through a burning bush. In fact, most of us will never experience such a direct contact through anything – burning or otherwise – so we have to be just a bit more attentive than Moses was.

The chances of God’s voice booming down from the heavens saying, “Brandon, I want you to do such-and-such,” are probably not very good, so I need to do some extra work in order to discern his call. But just because I haven’t received a spoken command from God himself, that doesn’t mean that God isn’t communicating to me. He could very well be calling, so I need to ensure that I am constantly listening.

Paul said, “[Whoever] thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.” It is advice that we all should take to heart. Even if we believe that we are already answering God’s call, we must be open to the idea that we may have misunderstood that call in the first place.

Flight Paths Are Never Straight

One thing that truly irritates me when I travel is that airplanes are not always on time. And because there never seems to be a non-stop flight to anywhere I need to go, one late flight can have a domino effect on my itinerary. When I stop to think about it, though, I am amazed that any flights are on time because airplanes are rarely “on course”.

Up in the sky, there are no white or yellow lines to tell us we’re on the right road. And even on a clear day, when you’re covering hundreds (or thousands) of miles, your sight isn’t all that helpful either. So what do pilots do? They pay close attention to other things, like their instrument panels. And when those other things indicate that they’re starting to get off course, they make a correction in their flight path.

No flight over a long distance is a straight line. The path becomes a zigzag as numerous small corrections are made. But the airplane still arrives at its destination – and usually on time – in spite of its seemingly erratic route.

Correcting Course

Lent is a perfect opportunity for us to recognize that the path we are on is not necessarily clearly marked with white and yellow lines. So just like a pilot, we need to rely on something other than our sight to guide us on our way. During this Lenten season, we must strive to open our hearts to God’s call.

We need to repent of our sins – and then listen.
We need to pray – and then listen.
We need to do penance – and then listen.

If we truly listen to God’s call, we will hear it. It may not grant us perfect clarity, yet we will be able to make necessary corrections to our course. Our path may be somewhat erratic, but like the thousands of flights that are made each year, we too will arrive safely at our destination.

Life Applications:

How has God called you? What has he called you to do?
How do you dialog with God?
How true is your course?

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