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Allocution, March 20, Third Sunday of Lent

Today, March 20, Third Sunday of Lent, we hear the Gospel according to Saint Luke chapter 13 verses 1-9.
(GOSPEL)

We all suffer, but not necessarily because of our own sins. It is true that sometimes yes. If I am an alcoholic I can end up with cirrhosis of the liver, destroying my health, my person, my family… and I am to blame. If I do not educate my children well, with my prayer, example, teaching and correction, they may end up poorly educated and will make the entire family suffer, especially those who love them most. If I smoke, if I am hypertensive, diabetic and suffer from other diseases, and I do not listen to the doctor, I do not follow his treatment, my health will deteriorate and I cannot blame God or the doctor. In all these situations I suffer the consequences for whose causes I am solely responsible, and to heal the wounds I need my own conversion. But we also suffer from the evil and carelessness of other people. Children suffer when their father abandons them, and that suffering goes deep, and only the father can fully heal them. The wife suffers and the children suffer when the husband leaves her and does not fulfill the promises of eternal love made during courtship and at the time of falling in love. A family cries a lot when a drunk driver hits a family member and/or is left with painful consequences or dies, and perhaps each of us has a personal story of pain because of another person.

The solution to the evil of those who make us suffer is not hatred or revenge, because then we would be equal to our crucifiers. We would turn from the crucified into the crucifiers, the solution is in the seven words of Christ on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” This phrase is the beginning of Psalm 22 that ends by expressing confidence in the Father God who will always be by our side. Pray this Psalm: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.”

As Christ did on the cross, it is best for us to imitate him: “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” God always forgives even the worst, and awaits us in his home in heaven.
“Woman, there you have your son, son, there you have your mother”, thank you Christ for giving us the Virgin Mary as a mother. She tells you, in the midst of your pain: “Do not be afraid, am I not here, I am your mother?” I’m thirsty; Christ thirsts for water after spending hours on the cross, today he thirsts for your family to always be united and love each other more.

Father, in your hands I entrust my spirit. Today we say: “Father. “Into your hands I entrust my life, my children, my illness, my suffering.” It is fulfilled, how wonderful to be able to say at the end of the day and of life “I have fulfilled your will, my God.”

There is also suffering due to strange circumstances, painful and terminal illnesses, atmospheric phenomena, disability of family members, unwanted mistakes by those who treat us and other painful experiences that each one has felt. Faced with all this, the only thing we can do is hug tightly to a crucifix, to an image of the Virgin, those we love and, although we will never fully understand the adversity that takes away our calm, continue forward carrying the Cross and being aware that We are not alone, but God, the Virgin and the people who love us are by our side, helping us to carry the cross of life, and thus a great peace will settle in our hearts.

Faced with so many sorrows in life, the psalmist Benjamín González Buelta, Jesuit, helps us pray with his Psalm, “Forgiveness without conditions”:
“My God, you give us forgiveness. You are not asking us to negotiate with you based on punishments and contracts. “Your sin is forgiven. Sin no more. Go and live without fear. And don’t carry yesterday’s corpse on your free back.”

You are not asking us to clear the unpayable debt of having turned against you. You offer us a new life without having to work overwhelmed by anguish, paying interest on an infinite account.
You forgive us with all your Heart. You are not a God of so many percent in love. “This one seventy-five and the other only twenty-three.” Whatever we do, we are one hundred percent children.
Your forgiveness is for everyone. You carry not only the lost sheep on your shoulder, but also the wolf stained with the blood of the lamb. You always forgive. Seventy times seven you jump onto the road to welcome our return, without closing your face or rationing your words to us, for our repeated escapes.
With forgiveness you give us joy. You do not want us to ruminate in a corner of the house about our broken past like a wounded animal, but rather that we celebrate the celebration of all the brothers, dressed in gala and perfume, entering into your joy.

We ask you in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us as we forgive.” Today we ask you even more: teach us to forgive others and ourselves as you forgive us. Amen.

(SINGING)
The fig tree is one of the plants that is mentioned most in the Bible. This tree is notable for its longevity. Although it can grow in the wild, to produce good fruit it must be cultivated. It has very widespread branches and can reach 9 meters in height and its trunk can exceed 60 cm. in diameter, which is why it is highly appreciated for its shadow. Fig trees basically produce two crops a year, June and September. The fig is food and medicine. In view of the importance of the fig tree in life, the Bible mentions it many times in a figurative sense. Jesus mentions it in today’s parable, which we heard at the end of the Gospel.

Each one of us is better than the wonderful fig tree. She produces fruit twice a year, we can produce fruits of love 365 days a year in the midst of the vineyard of our person, our family, the Church and society. Farmers remove dry branches that no longer produce, to give vitality to the rest of the plant. We have to recognize the evil that damages us and remove it, as the surgeon does with the damaged part of the body that can continue to damage.

We recognize in these days of Lent the bad things in our lives; we tear it off.

This prayer can help us a lot:

“I confess, thus, openly and bluntly, before Almighty God, before whom nothing is hidden, and before you brothers, before whom I am also guilty and responsible, that I have sinned greatly. So, just as it sounds… That I am worse than I seem, and when they judge me badly they fall short, because I have sinned in every possible way: of thought, word, deed and omission… And I don’t blame anyone, because It has always been: my fault, my fault, my great fault. But I am sincerely sorry; so much so… that I am going to make amends for my sins as soon as possible and in the fullest way possible. Now, I see that I need all the goodness of God to deserve forgiveness and all his strength to rebuild my life. That is why I pray to the Virgin Mary, to the angels, to the saints… and to you brothers to pray for me before God Our Lord.”
And now we fertilize our fig tree, our life, with the Word of God, read, meditated, prayed, with a divided portion. In this Lent, praying the Psalms helps us renew our lives. The Psalm that is read today in the liturgy is 103. Send to the archbishopric the phrase from this Psalm that most captivated you (phone 78624000); and with the grace of God the fig tree of our life will be renewed, and we hope to arrive saints at Holy Week, and we will be able to pray together this Thanksgiving:
“Thank you, moms and dads, for having said yes to the life of your children from the womb. Thank you, moms and dads, for educating your children and teaching them to love God and neighbor. Thank you, grandparents, for transmitting in the home the wisdom that comes from the years and from faith in God. Thank you, children and grandchildren, for loving your parents and grandparents, caring for them and respecting them and accompanying them. Thank you, uncles, for having on many occasions been other fathers and mothers for so many nephews. Thank you, brothers and cousins, for having given us so many testimonies of experiencing fraternity. Thanks to those neighbors who have confirmed the veracity of the popular saying: “Who is your brother?, your closest neighbor.” Thank you, Christian families, for gathering on Sundays to pray, eat together and share the sorrows and joys of the week.”
(SINGING)
The Pope, last Wednesday, prayed this prayer in St. Peter’s Square:
“Forgive us the war Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners. Lord Jesus, born under the bombs of kyiv, have mercy on us. Lord Jesus, dead in his mother’s arms in a bunker in Kharkiv, have mercy on us. Lord Jesus, twenty-something sent to the front, have mercy on us. Lord Jesus, who still see the armed hands in the shadow of your cross, have mercy on us. Forgive us, Lord, forgive us, because although we are not happy with the nails with which we pierced your hand, we continue to owe the blood of the dead torn by weapons. Forgive us, if these hands, which you had created to guard, have become instruments of death. Forgive us, Lord, if we continue killing our brothers. Forgive us if we continue like Cain removing the stones from our field to kill Abel. Forgive us if we continue to justify cruelty with our fatigue, if with our pain we legitimize the brutality of our actions. Forgive us the war, Lord. Forgive us the war, Lord. Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, we implore you! Stay the hand of Cain! Enlighten our conscience, let our will not be done, do not abandon us to our actions! Stop us, Lord, stop us! And when you have stopped the hand of Cain, take care of him too, he is our brother. Oh Lord, put a stop to violence! Stop us, Lord! Amen.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, forgive us our offenses as we also forgive those who offend us, do not lead us into temptation and deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace… The Lord is with you, blessed are you among all women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

(SINGING)

We receive the blessing of the Lord, we bow our heads to receive it:

Merciful Father God, grant to all of you, like the evil son, the joy of returning to your father’s house… Amen.
May Christ, model of prayer and life, guide you to authentic conversion of heart through the path of Lent… Amen.
May the Spirit of wisdom and strength sustain you in the fight against the evil one so that you can celebrate the Easter victory with Christ… Amen.
And the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, descend upon you, upon your families and always accompany you… Amen.

(SINGING)

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