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3rd Sunday of Lent, March 3, 2013 (Exodus 3:1-8a ,13-15; 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12; Luke 13:1-9) The revelation

of the Lords name to Moses remains as mysterious after the revelation as before Moses ever knew what the name was. Knowing the name of a person usually gives an advantage to the one who knows anothers name. Observe how salespersons will greet us by name and use our names as frequently as possible to show how well they know us, although in many cases they are reading from a prepared script. Knowledge of the name gives them a kind of persuasive power over us. In Moses case, he asks for the name of God, so that he can tell the Israelites who sent him to announce their rescue. By knowing the name of the God of their ancestors Moses is able to show his familiarity with the Lord as well as show that he means business. The problem is that the name revealed remains steeped in mystery. I am who I am in Hebrew actually translates literally I will be who I will be. Translating it I am who am, as the Lectionary does, leaves us just as puzzled. That could yield an interpretation, like some have done, as inferring that I am being itself, which is far afield from the literal sense of what the Lord actually says. Some Jewish translations of the Hebrew into English simply repeat what is said in Hebrew without translating it, yielding Ehyeh asher Ehyeh. Tell the Israelites Ehyeh sent me to you. That is probably no less confusing than actually trying to find meaning in the Lords revealed name. Eventually Ehyeh gives way to YHWH which is usually translated as the Lord. Jews never pronounce that collection of letters, usually saying Adonai whenever they see those letters in the text. The only clear link between the Exodus reading and the Gospel is the theme of suffering of the people. In the Gospel, Luke refers to an otherwise unknown event of Pilate, who will eventually condemn

Jesus to death, who supposedly killed some Galileans and mixed their blood with the blood of their sacrifices. He also refers to another otherwise unknown account of the death of eighteen people when the tower at Siloam fell on them. The pool of Siloam was found in southern Jerusalem about a half mile south of the Temple. Nothing is known about a tower built there or anywhere else for that matter. We do this all the time when we refer to natural disasters in which people are killed. Whether it be the slaughter of innocents like at Sandy Hook or meteorites landing in ones backyard or earthquakes or storms, only the crassest of people try to pronounce judgment on those who die in such events. Obviously there are crass people around, because they have and they do pronounce their pathetic judgments. Jesus rejects the argument that any of those who died were any guiltier of anything than anyone else, but he suggests that his listeners ought to repent of their sins anyway. He implies any one of them could die just as senselessly, but if they do not heed his call to repent then they have only themselves to blame. They have been warned. The two groups of people killed and the parable of the gardener caring for the fig tree are all unique to Luke. In the parable, the gardener says let me have more time to work with the unproductive tree. The time to produce fruit is limited to one more year. We are also called to repent. Lent is the right time to do so. Time is limited. Fr. Lawrence Hummer