Many job assignments back, I had a staff member who was always complaining (just like the Pharisees and the scribes in the past days Gospel readings) with just anything. He complains about his workmates, his relationships with friends, and some other departments in the company. You almost can’t hear anything positive from him. He’s one person who you avoid because you worry to be enveloped by the negativity in his attitude. The difficulty for me then was that he was already advance in age and I knew I have little influence in him. He retired years after that and the last time I know is that he has settled back in the province and hopefully, with age (and maturity) he has become wiser and better of having a life of positivity and good vibes.
The Gospel (Lk. 13: 1-9) in this Third Sunday Lent, the people were quite fixed on the appropriate Jewish way of preparing the sacrifices for Yahweh. They had the notion that people die gruesome deaths because of their sins. And so, they complained that Pilate mixed the blood of those people with the blood of their sacrifices so that they thought these offerings were tainted with sins of those people.
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means!”
Jesus used it as an opportunity to tell them about the importance of repenting and reforming their lives. He warned that
I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”
The Lord’s message is now clearer and more stern in His warning, that death will come to those who remain to wallow in sin and indifference to the faith. Jesus feels that people are still hardheaded and choose darkness over the light. The present over Heaven. And the same attitude is prevailing in the world today. Some politicians remain corrupt and crooked, some people choose the easier life, some take detours to enjoy the dazzling ways of the world, as if there’s no tomorrow and thinking that life here on earth is permanent. The risks and the anxieties surrounding that kind of life is real. Who can even tell that the unexpected happens and you suddenly die and for sure you will go to a place nobody-likes-to-go and suffer eternal damnation! It’s real and it’s true! Hell is terrifying and just the thought of it makes me tremble in fear.
If you follow and please God in your life, you can be at peace and ready at any time without big time worrying. You will be calmer and trustful of how the Lord will judge you because you have tried consistently to stay the course. But it is not a reason to rejoice and be complacent because you still need to remain humble and grounded. Actually, the more you think and reflect on this, you will realize that you aren’t worthy even of being in the Lord’s presence. You will feel the filth, the garbage, and the smell that your sins bring to your soul. So again, the Lord is inviting all of us to take His message to heart:
“…if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”
St. Paul wrote aptly in the Second Reading (1 Cor. 10: 1-6, 10-12):
things happened as examples for us,
so that we might not desire evil things, as they did.
Do not grumble as some of them did,
and suffered death by the destroyer.
These things happened to them as an example,
and they have been written down as a warning to us,
upon whom the end of the ages has come.
Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure
should take care not to fall.”
Our mission then is to live our lives in ways that please God and not man. Stay the course. In doing so, we avoid getting into the fates of those who perished before us.
Let us pray that we be mindful that our lives be pleasing to God not only in these Lenten season but at all times. Let us pray that the Lord pardon us of our repented sins, and that we remain steadfast in our faith.
“Repent, says the Lord; the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Mt. 4: 17)