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Sunday, March 15, 1998

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3rd Sunday of Lent

Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15
1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Psalm 103
Luke 13:1-9

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dying for some fruit

"A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he came out looking for fruit on it." —Luke 13:6

If we don't bear fruit, we will be cut down (Lk 13:9) and thrown into the fire to be burnt (Jn 15:6). If we don't bear fruit by leading others to Christ, we will not live with Christ in eternity.

We can be sure of bearing fruit by:

  1. living in Jesus the Vine (Jn 15:5), and
  2. dying to self.

"Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit" (Jn 12:24). Dying and living go together. We must die to self in order to live in Christ and bear fruit.

Bearing the fruit of evangelization is not primarily a matter of instruction or persuasion but of dying and living. This means everyone can and must bear fruit.

Today, in Catholic Churches throughout the world, catechumens are receiving the prayers called the First Scrutiny. They are dying to self, as did the Samaritan woman when Jesus scrutinized her heart (Jn 4:4ff). Let us join the catechumens in death so we can join them in new life. Through our Lenten mortification — almsgiving, prayer, and fasting (see Mt 6:1ff) — let us die to self and prepare for risen life and the amazing fruitfulness of Pentecost.

Prayer:  Father, may I bear abundant, quality fruit in the next two months.

Promise:  "For all these reasons, let anyone who thinks he is standing upright watch out lest he fall!" —1 Cor 10:12

Praise:  Praise Jesus crucified and risen! Praise You, Jesus, Victor over death.

Reference:  (Presentation Ministries offers a Discipleship Program to train disciples to bear much fruit for God's kingdom. See the information elsewhere in this booklet for details.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997