Gospel – Luke 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them—
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”

mark-brownReflection on the Gospel from Br. Mark Brown, FSC

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God.

The second portion of today’s Gospel speaks of a frustrated landowner who wants to be rid of the fig tree that will not bear fruit. The generous gardener is willing to tend the palnt for one more year before giving up on the barren tree. It is quite easy to see the Lord as the gardener and ourselves as the fig tree. He is willing to give us another chance, waiting patiently for us to finally do the good we are capable of doing.

During Lent, we have the chance to renew our repentance, to make amends for the wrongs we have committed, and find the second chance for the times we have failed to live up to our potential. But the attentive reader will note that the gardener will only extend his generous care to the fig tree for one more year. We need to align ourselves to God’s way sooner, we cannot put it off for ever. For if we too long turn away from God, we may be too far away to ever turn back. The season of Lent reminds us of the need to return to the Lord, to offer the fruit we are capable of bearing.

The story of Moses’ call in today’s first reading (Ex 3.1-8a, 13-15) is a good example of the Lord offering a second chance. Moses had fled from Egypt after killing a slave driver. He settled in Midian and created a comfortable life for himself, he was a family man and comfortably employed. Yet the Lord called him, giving him a second chance, to do a marvelous thing for the people of God. While Moses was hesitant (who would want to leave a nice middle class life?), he did do as the Lord commanded. Moses accepted the second chance that was offered to him.

Reflection Questions

  1. How does the first part of today’s Gospel challenge me to repent this Lent?

  2. Am I willing to offer a second chance to others? To give someone who has wronged me, or disappointed me, the opportunity to live up to his or her potential?

  3. Am I willing to accept the second chances offered to me? Do I see the good in myself, and the potential I have for serving the Lord and others?

St. John Baptist de La Salle — Pray for us.
Live Jesus in Our Hearts — Forever!