Saturday, March 2, 2013

Third Sunday of Lent -- Burning Bush -- Fig Tree

Some years ago, when I was still teaching senior theology, Social Justice and Peace, I did all sorts of things to try to keep the seniors' attention. Early in this course, I presented biblical figures who were great leaders in regard to demanding justice for others.

I chose Moses as one of those examples. And then I paralleled the Hebrew word, nambi (meaning mouth piece) with the biblical character working for justice. This person would be an individual who would be literally freeing others, but first he had to "speak up". It always amazed me how Moses was such a perfect example. He is perfect because at first Moses does not want to be a mouth piece, reluctant to "speak up". He does not want to go before Pharaoh to ask for freedom of his Hebrew people. Most of us do NOT want to be a mouth piece of the Lord,  (we do not really want to "speak up"), let alone to try to free someone from a burden or an injustice.

Then I bring in the animated movie of this story -- The Prince of Egypt. I find that it really gets across the point of being a mouth piece and "speaking up", but there are lots of other points to get in this film as well.

However, for this Second Sunday of Lent the first reading presents the scene of the burning bush. It is an incredible theophany. And I have never seen a better scene of this than the one in The Prince of Egypt.
Here it is below. Take some time to view it and also take in the wonderful music.

A few comments: I must admit that I am attracted to both the gentle whisper of God and then the forceful charge--TO GO! Most human beings need this type of push. I know that almost all the seniors I have ever had at MM need a forceful: NOW GO!

Another final comment about the first reading for this Third Sunday of Lent (Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15), that I would like to make has to do with what we have always considered Lent to be, a time of fasting, alms giving and extra prayer.

But we also hear about another way of thinking in regard to fasting. It comes from the prophet, Isaiah.
Here are the words:
"Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own."

I try to tell the seniors that the class of Social Justice and Peace will be successful and they will merit a good grade if they each have tried to FREE someone during the semester-- if they have spoken up for someone-- if they have helped anyone who is in any need.

There are always opportunities for us to do these types of things every day. NOW LET US GO and do them.

Lastly, the fig tree (gospel of the day) is given a second chance. We all are given second chances again and again, but ultimately we will be judged by the fruit we bear. To be merited with freeing someone would be bearing an incredible fruit! Enough said.

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