Third Sunday of Lent

March 7, 2021

March 7, 2021

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March 7, 2021

Third Sunday of Lent

Olga Marina

Olga Marina

Segura

Segura

Brothers and sisters:
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

“We proclaim Christ crucified.”

This image of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is especially powerful this Lenten season.

On February 29, 2020, the first person died of COVID-19 in the United States. By the same time this year, more than 465,000 Americans have lost their lives, and more than two million people worldwide have died.

People have lost their lives at the hands of police violence. Families are struggling to pay their rent, feed their families and afford healthcare.  

2021 began as violently as 2020 ended. White men and women violently stormed the Capitol and five people lost their lives.

For more than a year, we have been surrounded by violence and death. We are in a seemingly never-ending cycle of grief, anxiety, fear, and depression.

We are suffering.

There is pain all around us. Millions have died, and many more will lose their lives. Collectively, we are struggling to mourn as a nation, a church.  

At times, it is difficult to continue believing. At times it is difficult to see where God is moving, where God is leading us.

And yet: “We proclaim Christ crucified.”

The cross reminds us that our faith, our God, promises us that there is more beyond these earthly pains.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

The cross reminds us that Christ died for us, and in Christ, we shall be saved. That is the power of the cross. That is the power of Christ in God.

In Knowing Christ Crucified: The Witness of African American Religious Experience, theologian M. Shawn Copeland writes that the power of the cross is also a challenge for us as Catholics. “The cross of Jesus calls us to conversion, to radical transformation of life for life. For his cross teaches us that conversion of life is not merely something about which we speak; rather, despite whatever consequences, the living out and living out of that transformation is the subject of our daily struggle.”

The cross, Copeland adds, is an invitation to change our hearts and the hearts of those around us. And this Lenten season, this is even more urgent.

“We proclaim Christ crucified.”

We believe in the power of the crucifixion, and this belief must help us to understand more deeply the systemic violence enacted upon Black, indigenous, people of color, and all marginalized groups.

As Catholics, this means we are called to fight for a better, more liberated world. We are called to go to the margins and center the experiences of society’s most vulnerable communities.

Lent is a season for us to reflect on and learn from Christ’s sacrifice for us. And this year, we must remember and pray for every single person we have lost to violence at the hands of the state, from the global pandemic to police brutality. We must mourn and grieve for their families, communities, and we must never forget their names.

Most important, we must support organizers on the ground who despite the tragedies all around us, continue to fight for a freer world.  

“We proclaim Christ crucified.”

Amen.

First Reading

Ex 20:1-17

PSALM

Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11

Second Reading

1 Cor 1:22-25

GOSPEL

Jn 2:13-25
Read texts at usccb.org

Olga Marina Segura

Olga Marina Segura

Olga Marina Segura is the opinion and culture editor at the National Catholic Reporter and the author of Birth of A Movement: Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, ZORA Magazine, Shondaland, The Revealer, Refinery29, and Sojourners.

Previously, she was an associate editor at America Media, where she wrote and solicited articles on race and culture. She is a co-founder and former co-host of the podcast, “Jesuitical.” Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Latino Rebels, Shondaland, Sojourners, Refinery29, and The Revealer.

Prior to working at America Media, Olga was an intern at the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations. She graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Arts in Italian Language and Literature. She speaks Italian and Spanish fluently and was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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Take an opportunity to read and reflect on the Sunday readings during the first five weeks of Lent.  Participants are provided with links to reflections on the Lectionary readings (Cycle A) written by scholars -- including weekly preaching from Catholic Women Preach.  Then, each week participants share their insights in an online community discussion, guided by a facilitator.

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