One of the most powerful songs that I have heard in liturgy is ‘The Summons’ by John L. Bell. The hymn is a series of questions that Christ poses to his disciple, and it becomes clear that the Gospel way of life is concrete and demands utmost sincerity of heart. Throughout the song Jesus invites the disciple to follow him, not hiding the fact that love and closeness to God is linked to self-giving, discipline and suffering. Yet he asks and awaits our response.
The third Sunday of Lent presents us with the encounter between Moses and God in the burning bush. The Lord affirms, “I have heard the cry of complaint of my people against the slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering.” (Ex 3: 7). For this reason, God calls Moses to lead his people out the suffering and oppression in Egypt. Our God is merciful, compassionate, caring and aware of our deepest needs.
This encounter between God and Moses reminds me of the long story of fidelity and infidelity on behalf of the Israelites. Although God is loving and merciful, slow to anger and rich in compassion, I need to do my part to move out of the desert. God constantly extends a hand, to save me from so many forms of spiritual destruction and slavery- and I am free to extend my hand to accept the gift. But the gift of salvation entails my own work and discipline to embrace the new life offered to me in turn.
The words of Jesus in today’s Gospel seem harsh, “If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” (Luke 13: 5). In no way is the Father abandoning the work of his hands. Rather, Jesus tells us that we are free to follow the path of salvation. He does not want slaves to a rule, but rather free sons and daughters who welcome the Gospel and live it with gratitude.
Lent is a time to listen to the loving voice of Jesus that invites walk with greater freedom and decision on the narrow path of the Gospel.
Article by: Kate O’Connor
Listen to the The Summons