March 21, 2022

Our Strength is In Our Weakness (Lent 3c)

 The Readings (Isaiah 55.1-9; 1 Cor. 10.1-13; Luke 13.1-9) remind us that our strength is in our weakness. On our own we can do nothing to help ourselves. We may become discouraged, prideful, get distracted, rebel against Father God and lose our Baptismal Covenant promise of eternal spiritual life. Lent is a time to dig around and loosen our roots, repent our sins, “Come to Jesus” for forgiveness and go deeper in our spiritual life.


1.   Jesus Begins His Teaching with the Problem of Evil

When bad things happen to people, we might wonder if God is punishing them. Jesus uses the examples of persecution, a wall falling and a tower collapsing and killing people. He asks were they more guilty than others?

·     Answer is no – we are all guilty and need forgiveness 

·     Jesus starts from examples accidental physical death to move us deeper into the greater consequence of spiritual death if we do not repent and seek forgiveness for our sins

·     Spiritual evil – rebelling against God and our baptismal Covenant is a personal choice that can lead to a second or spiritual death

·     Temptations test our faith, love of God and love of neighbour 

·     Temptations can make us stronger, like exercising a muscle and force us to make a choice to “come to Jesus” .

- Temptations can also expose our lack of love, addiction to sin and separation from Jesus

- I like to think of Satan as head of God's quality control department (see Job 2.2-5)

2. The Parable of the Fig Tree is About Spiritual Life

We are the fig tree:

·     Can’t help ourselves – find water, better soil

·     We are where we are, cannot go to a better place spiritually on our own


The Man is God:

·     God may be disappointed in our failures to love

·     Looking for fruit of Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

·     God may be tempted to give up on us, replace us with another tree


Gardiner is Jesus / Holy Spirit

·     Asks for forgiveness and a second chance to grow fruit

·     Digs around the roots: 

o  We can become mentally and spiritually rootbound like plants in a pot – unable to grow

o   loosens the soil, frees us from wrong ideas

o  Frees us from mental prisons & spiritual bondage

·     Water of life: 

o   forgiveness of sins, 

o  healing and guidance of Holy Spirit

o  comfort and strength (to overcome temptation)

·     Fertilizer:

o  Bible reading and study

o  Prayer and worship

o  Acts of love and mercy



3.    Lent is a time to go deeper in our spiritual life:

·     Self-examination to face our weakness and dependence

·     To acknowledge our sloth and rebellion

·     To ask Holy Spirit to dig around our roots, shake us out of complacency and show us our sins so we can prepare for the celebration of a new spiritual life at Easter

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