(Ex 3:1-8, 13-15; Ps 102:1-4, 6-8, 11; 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12; Lk 13:1-9)

When I look at my life as a Christian and as a priest, I realise that sometimes I am too hard on myself and on others demanding much from them or from myself and when the optimum is not attained, I feel disappointed in a sense. But today's readings want me to realise that our God is a God of compassion and a God of love who invites me to do the same to myself and others.

These compassion and love are attributes that belong exclusively to God and man only shares in these attributes analogously. Because of God's love for us, he is always compassionate to us and will welcome us back without any questioning when we have realized our sinfulness and turn back to him in repentance. He will always want to set us free also from the difficulties we go through in life. The theme of today is drawn from the response to the responsorial Psalm and cuts across the whole readings. The readings want us to emulate these attributes of God: a God of compassion and love.

In the responsorial psalm of today, we find the psalmist thanking God with all his being because God is a God who forgives guilt, he heals everyone of our ills, redeems our lives from the graves and crowns us with his love and compassion. He is a God of compassion and love because his wrath comes to an end, he is not angry with us forever; neither does he treat us according to our sins nor does he repay us according to our faults ( Ps 102 :1-4, 9-12 ).

As far as the east is from the west, so far does God remove our sins. He does so because he is love and compassion.

Also, the aspect of God's compassion and love is expressed by the first reading of today when God decides to free his people from their slavery in Egypt. The reading recounts: "And the Lord said, 'I have seen the miserable state of my people in Egypt. I have heard their appeal to be free of their slave-drivers. Yes, I am well aware of their suffering. I mean to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians and bring them up out of that land to a land rich and broad, a land where milk and honey flow'" (Ex 3:7-8). In effect, God's love and compassion is calling out to free us from any situation we might find ourselves in; whether we are responsible for it or not. And God is also calling us to be compassionate to others and to love them sincerely.

For us to be able to carry on with the above, we need to be patient enough with ourselves and with others. This is taught to us by the gospel of today. In the parable, the man was impatient with the fig because it was not producing and wanted to put it down but is advised to nurture it and wait another year for it to bear. We too new to be patient with others. We can't run the race to God on equal terms. Others are good, others are bad, others are making the efforts, while others don't just care. But we are all God's children and we need to be patient with others and their fault and be able to journey with them along this path to heaven. To do this well, we must always learn to put ourselves in the shoes of others and try to feel how they feel in the situations in which they find themselves. If we are patient with others and always put ourselves in their situations, this gives us a better picture to be able to help. It enables us not to be judgmental or tey to condemn others but to empathise with them and help bring them to the level they are to be. This doesn't exclude the need to be firm and truthful to point things out the way they should.

As we carry on with our Lenten fast, let us be compassionate to one another and love each other sincerely. Let spouse do this to one another and to their children. Let teachers be compassionate and patient with their children and let children be compassionate with their parents and elders. If we can be compassionate, then the world will be a better place where others can be helped to journey with us to heaven.

May the God Lord help us to be compassionate and love sincerely.

  - Fr. E Rinda