Gospel Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year C – February 28th 2016
Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’
He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”‘
God gives us all an extension!
Life is often a matter of falling and getting up. Lent – give up something and start again. Rows in a marriage or family and we try again. Fig tree was barren, but got another chance.
Give it one more chance. God never points the finger. Always an extension! Another chance! In our lives we feel judged often by God and condemned. This is never the case. Allow the flow of love enter those dark sides of ourselves.
You could imagine people pointing the finger at the tree. No fruit again. Like we do often. Cast the first stone, see the speck in the other’s eye and not the beam in your own. We are good finger pointers.
To change the tree needs nourishment and feeding, and care. We need that too. There is the nourishment of our lives in prayer, Mass, and the way we care for each other. We are supported always by the love of God.
FIRST READING (Exodus 3:1-18. 13-15)
We need to know there is a tree that never burns and that is God. His love spreads in his care for us. The God of Moses is the one who always is, and the one whose essence is compassion.
The other chance – a need always in life. We know the struggles of people in addiction who needed the other chance and believed in themselves and in God. People who have turned from crime will have had people who gave them another chance. Teachers know the value of believing again in a child. We are people always given another chance by God to move on in greater faith and strength and in repentance when necessary, and people who try to give another chance to others. The fig tree will bear more fruit.
Lord help me believe that you never give up on anyone. May I be the same!
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger