Third Sunday in Lent  Year C   24 March 2019

It has been a long week for most. Bendigo has had three gatherings in the wake of the Christchurch storm of destruction. A vigil at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral; around 300 attended on Sunday night. 170 attended the paid Bendigo Interfaith Council Dinner on Thursday addressed by Sherene Hassan from the Australian Islamic Museum, and Friday, a public vigil organised by the Islamic Association with 300 plus in attendance. It would have been appropriate at each celebration to have taken off our shoes as indeed the atmosphere evoked ‘Holy Ground’.

The three ceremonies now strike another thought. The owner of the fig tree was hoping for some fruit, perhaps a big harvest. Was he being too ambitious? Was he being too greedy? Was he being too impatient? Since the eruptions in Bendigo following the granting of the planning permit to build a Mosque (building is to begin in June/July this year), protesters visit the site each Thursday and other people continue to work for peace and understanding. Jesus reminds us this week, not to rush to judgement when ‘new Pilates’ wash and mix blood. Towers will continue to fall down. Our three events seem to have changed the mood in Bendigo for a significant group of Bendigo leaders and citizens.

As in Jesus’ time, bad events cause us to wonder and to look for solutions; and, indeed, we ought! However, we note that in this chapter of Luke’s account, Jesus is well on his way to His trial, humiliation, and death. He rightly adds that we ought not only turn away from sin but accept the fact that God has visited his people. The Kingdom has been proclaimed and all are invited to enter. Again today, the gift of basking in the presence of God may cause us to “cover our face”, to bow down or, like Peter, to say “It is good for us to be here. Let’s build three tents etc.”

Moses, Peter and ourselves have to realise that such insights are given to call people to action on behalf of our broken, wounded, unjust world.

Each of us can simply close our eyes and, in a sense, say our prayers.

What the God of all beings longs to hear is “Here I am, Lord. I come to do your will.”

Mons Frank


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