Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!
Lent: It’s not like it was in the “Good Old Days.”
It’s true the Lenten fasting rules are not what they were in the memory and experience of many older Catholics. The emphasis today in our Lenten observance has shifted somewhat. We stress the “baptismal” character of Lent. It’s a time when we re-affirm our Christian identity, and support those preparing for Baptism. Repentance is still a Lenten focus, and today those two themes come together in our Scriptures.
Take a cue from St. Paul, who creatively retells the story of the Israelites in the desert, to remind the Corinthians that being baptized means a life of repentance. A Christian is to live differently, to constantly have a spirit of conversion.
It’s a theme Jesus picks up in the Gospel, correcting popular notions about why bad things happen to good people. All of us, Jesus says, must be “reform-minded.” God doesn’t single out anyone by sending tragedies or natural disasters. We all have opportunities—not unlimited, of course—but opportunities nonetheless, to turn from sin and accept God’s love. It’s what Baptism commits us to do.
Where was Moses in the first reading, and what was he doing there? When Moses approached the flaming bush, what happened? What did God tell him to do? What did Moses ask for?
In this week's second reading, Paul reminds the Corinthians of how “our ancestors were all under the cloud and passed through the sea and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Was God pleased with these ancestors?
Paul says these things happened as examples for us, and were written down so that we would not do what? What lesson does Paul teach the people in Corinth?
In the Gospel, Jesus responds to questions raised by people who told him about tragic things that happened. What had happened?
What does Jesus say as a warning to the people around him? What lesson did Jesus teach by the parable of the fig tree that was not bearing fruit?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
Place plants in two separate pots or plant them outside in two separate holes in the ground. Do an experiment inspired by the Gospel. Give one of the plants extra care and feeding, while doing very little to help the other plant thrive. After a week or so, see what the difference is between the plants.
The Gospel mentions a fig tree. Have you ever tasted a fig before? Ask your mom or dad to buy one at the grocery and have everyone in the family try it.