- Sunday, 24 March 2019 -
Third Sunday of Lent
Readings of day

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 13:1-9.

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He 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!
Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them --do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!"
And he told them this parable: "There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener, 'For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. (So) cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?'
He said to him in reply, 'Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'"
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

Saint Cyprian
"It may bear fruit in the future" : imitating God's patience

This, beloved brethren, Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, did not teach by words only but he also fulfilled by his deeds... In the very hour of his passion and cross... what violent abuses he listened to with patience, and what shameful insults he endured! He was even covered with the spittle of his revilers when, but a short time before, he had cured the eyes of the blind man with his own spittle(Jn 9:6)... He who now crowns the martyrs with eternal garlands was himself crowned with thorns; he who now gives true palms to the victors was beaten in the face with hostile palms; he who clothes all others with the garment of immortality was stripped of his earthly garments; he who has given us the food of heaven was fed with gall; he who has offered us the cup of salvation was given vinegar to drink. He the innocent, the just man, nay rather, Innocence itself and Justice itself, is counted among criminals, and Truth is concealed by false testimonies. He who is to judge is judged, and the Word of God, silent, is led to the cross. And although the stars are confounded at the crucifixion of the Lord, the elements are disturbed and the earth trembles... yet he does not speak, nor is he moved, nor does he proclaim his majesty, even during the suffering itself. He endures all things even to the end with constant perseverance so that in Christ a full and perfect patience may find its realization. And even after such sufferings he still receives his murderers if they are converted and come to him, and with a patience instrumental in saving man, this kind Master closes his Church to no one. He not only receives and pardons those adversaries, those blasphemers, those persistent enemies of His name, provided they do penance for their offense and acknowledge the crime committed, but he admits them to the reward of the kingdom of heaven. What can be called more patient, what more kind? Even he who shed the blood of Christ is given life by the blood of Christ. Such is the wonderful patience of Christ. And unless it were so wonderful, the Church would not have had Paul, the great Apostle.

The good of patience, 6, 7-8 (©The Fathers of the Church); cf. SC 291, p.199 rev.)