Third Sunday of Lent
March 20, 2022 •
When you truly love someone, you're devoted to them, committed. You have a relationship with them. ... Devotion is necessary in life and just as necessary in our spiritual lives.
In our relationship with Jesus, our relationship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, we also need devotion to the Saints. It's non-negotiable. Not an option, you have to have it. You don't need devotion to all of them, pick and choose who you like. ...
But two Saints every Christian must have devotion to are: the Blessed Mother, obviously, the Mother of our Lord, and Saint Joseph. Now I talk enough, we pray the Hail Mary, you know the need for devotion to Our Lady in the spiritual life. But I think, and even for myself, I fail in this regard, in my devotion to Saint Joseph. I don't talk to him as much as I should. I don't pray and seek his intercession as much as I should.
Now, sometimes people think, well, do I really need this devotion? Do I really need someone to intercede on my behalf when I can go directly to Jesus? I would point out to you our Lord's parable in the Gospel today. Here He is talking to the Pharisees and He's warning them: If you don't repent, you'll be condemned, terrible things will happen to you. Repentance is your salvation.
The parable is: a man had a fig tree in his garden, and for three years he came back looking for figs on this tree. He gives the tree three years to produce fruit and, nothing. Finally, he's fed up. He says, let's dig it up and try something new because it's just sucking nutrients from the soil. He tells his gardener, just cut it down and burn it.
Our Lord is saying for those who do not bear spiritual fruit, they are as good as damned. But what does the gardener say to the Lord?
Please, sir. Just give me one more year. I'll cultivate the soil around the tree and then, if it doesn't bear fruit, you can cut it down.
The gardener pleads on behalf of the tree: Be patient, be merciful. It doesn't deserve your mercy, but let me work with it and maybe I can get it to bear fruit. On its own, it won't. But, maybe I can help.
Now, this gardener clearly represents Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the True Adam Who was the original gardener. But, Jesus also sends us the many Saints to assist Him in pleading on our behalf to the Father.
Consider it from this perspective: God the Father has a certain number of years he's willing to wait for each one of us to bear fruit. Once we reach that number of years, that's it. He's done. You're damned, it's over. End their life, it's a waste of time to put any more work into you. But He wants to save you even though you don't deserve it, He wants to save all of us, so He sends His Son to plead on our behalf. It's the Master Who sent the gardener. It's not that the Father doesn't want to save you, but because of justice, He is required to give you a specific length of days.
But to give you more time, He sends His only Son. Now Jesus - the gardener - is working in the world, pleading: Father just give more more time with these "plants" I'm sure I can do something with them. And the Father says, yes, because You asked.
Jesus doesn't stop there. He sends the Blessed Mother, so now the Blessed Mother can plead on our behalf to Him, He can plead on our behalf to God and we get even more time.
The Blessed Mother says "Jesus is so smart, He must have learned this from His Father, I'm going to send Saint Joseph."
Basically, all of the Saints and Angels are working in tandem to give each of us as much intercession, as much time as possible to repent. When we have special devotion to them, they can intercede even more powerfully with us. That's why devotion is necessary in the spiritual life.
Father relates a powerful story about Padre Pio and a woman who came to him because she was afraid her husband was in hell.
If such a tiny act of devotion can save a soul who was so deeply rooted in sin, imagine how much easier it will be for our Lord to save us when we have a strong and abiding devotion, not only to the Mother of God, but to Saint Joseph. We need these intercessors. We need them. Without their intercession, our chances of salvation are diminished.
Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15; Ps 103:1-4, 6-8, 11; 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12; Lk 13:1-9
Homily begins at 23:00