20190324 Third Sunday of Lent

Kyrie Eleison

My childhood house had a fig tree in the backyard. I always thought that tree was a mess, leaves covered the ground, green fruit scattered near and far. Every week I had to rake up the multitude of leaves and fruit and I despised every minute. It was a mundane, never ending chore, same thing over and over and over. Can I just chop this tree and do away with it? Ready to give up…

Years later we moved. The fig tree was replaced with a lemon tree. Smaller means less work, right? Weeks later, I realized it needed more care. It had to be tended more frequently, watered almost daily, prune seasonally. I had to spend more time doing this chore and I saw nothing of all my labor. The lemon tree had bare branches with no leaves and no fruit. Always in a rush, never minding the care, it’s just a chore. I grew more impatient with every minute spent. It gave me nothing. Can I just chop this tree and do away with it? Ready to give up… 

High school years were difficult for me. I saw myself growing impatient and frustrated. My mother ridiculed and criticized my every action. She took away my worth and gave me no love or care. I just existed. I had nothing, am nothing, doing nothing. God, where are you? Can I just do away with me? Ready to give up…

When I reached what seemed to be an ending in my life, it was actually God asking me to take a step in what would be a new beginning, a new direction. I was given a second chance, hope, and living water! My Grandmother and Godparents were active parishioners at St. Francis de Sales Church (former Cathedral) of Oakland. They brought me along to attend Mass, help out with their different groups, and teach me about community and Church. One day, I helped out in the hall prepping one (food) tray after another, doing the same thing, over and over, but not like a chore. The adults checked on me, made sure I was okay, even the priests came and talked with me. I saw the people we served and they had smiles on their faces, thanked us over and over for the trays of food.

My life changed at that moment. I realized the change had to begin with me. God demands a change from our lives. I had to change my attitude and actions. I had to be on my knees in prayer asking God not to give up on me, to be patient. I asked Jesus to carry me because I had become weak and weary. The Holy Spirit was (is) always being prayed to fill me with the Gifts and Fruits that I needed for the day, especially patience. I was beginning to understand that God was patient with me with all of my shortcomings and failures, believe that He had a plan for me and I needed to produce something of value. I needed grace and mercy to be in my heart and mind, then love could be poured in and through me. Prayer and service have become a part of my life. This God moment was during the season of Lent, which has become my favorite season of all!

Barren and broken, struggling and stumbling, wandering through our desert of temptation and sin, God is always patient with us, forgives all our mistakes, and loves us. He reaches out to us offering hope and mercy and grace. God puts care, love, and sacrifice into our growth. I offer prayers of thanksgiving and praise to God for his patience and hopefulness towards us.

I ask in prayer to love, to be light and hope. I ask for help to bear the fruit that God values. I trust He has a plan for me. I want to be a genuine disciple. With God’s love and grace and mercy, I can try to be. I must slow down and listen to Him. I fall short daily and mess up constantly but I humbly ask for forgiveness and am blessed by His grace and mercy. I am on my knees constantly…Kyrie Eleison. With a patient heart, He answers.


Readings at http://usccb.org/bible/readings/032419.cfm

Living the Word reflection

First Reading: Exodus 3:1-8A, 13-15
Psalm: Psalm 103: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11 
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Gospel: Luke 13:1-9


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