Our readings for this Sunday, the Third Sunday of Lent are here.
Again, these are my notes and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homilies from the
- 8:30 Mass on February 24, 2019
- Noon Mass on February 28, 2016.
The poems Fr Dennis references are:
- The Bright Field by R.S. Thomas, Laboratories of the Spirit (1975)
- A Short Testament by Anne Porter, Living Things (2006)
In 2019, alas, I missed the Mass, but through discussion found that Dennis included the poem because he thought it full of profound wisdom for everyone, regardless of creed. R.S. Thomas is a Welsh poet. He was also an Anglican priest. The poem also captures the remarkability of Moses in turning to the burning bush in curiosity (Ex 3:3) rather than in fear.
In 2016, we reflected on —
- the continuing theme of the readings, akin to Samuel’s “Here I am!” (or is that, “Here, I am.”?) Where you stand is Holy Ground because of I Am
- Our faith is captured in the burning bush (it is never consumed in the flames) and the fig tree (it is useless if it doesn’t produce fruit).
- Moses has both Jewish and Egyptian identities, so his life and experience have a cultural and physical dynamism as they play out within him. Perhaps these are part of what have him approach the burning bush out of curiosity.
- Note that he does seek validation from God of “Why me? Why choose and send me?” (Ex 3:11) God replies I AM, the one whom the Israelites have known for generations and generations.
- All of the above is indicative of God’s great desire to communicate with us.
- Jesus himself as message
- Jesus takes events that people know from their everyday lives and history to help them find God and bring God close.
- God is larger than good and evil, so we can always turn to God, regardless of our sin and our blessings.
- Anne Porter’s poem, “A Short Testament,” offers a sense of repentance, the change of heart, that is part of the fertile ground of growth in God and life. The final stanza is reminiscent of the gospel in that, by fertilizing the ground and cultivating it, the tree can bear fruit. Like us, we need the repentance of our lives to fertilize our growth in God.
In the SALT Lectionary Van Gogh Lenten reflection for this Sunday, we are encouraged to spend time with Van Gogh’s Almond Blossoms.