Today's Gospel: Luke 13, 1-9
Jesus was asked about the Galileans killed by Pilate. Perhaps the tone of their question indicated a presumption of guilt, or sin, on the part of the victims. “They must have done something to deserve it”, they thought.
Jesus brings up another incident in Siloam where lives were also tragically lost. In each account He emphatically tells those questioning that it was not a matter of punishment for guilt and sin. The victims were not bearing more guilt than the rest.
There will always be suffering and loss in our fallen world; sadly, we see, or hear of it, daily. Both the innocent and the not so innocent suffer when tragedy strikes. What is all-important and necessary, says Jesus, is that we embrace repentance for wrongdoing. We must turn away from sin and turn to God. The consequence of not doing so is dire. We, too, will perish.
A harsh reality, yes, but Jesus, in His loving mercy follows this up with the parable of the Barren Fig Tree. The fig tree, symbolic for Old Covenant Israel, was given three years of Jesus’ life. The Messiah spent this time teaching and nurturing His people, while waiting patiently for signs of repentance. He is giving us this same generous gift. Through His Word and the Sacraments we are cultivated and nurtured and, most mercifully, given time to repent and produce fruit. Our day of reckoning will come, however. Will He find fruit on our tree?
Have I occasionally wished punishment on those I deemed sinful, or evil, before praying for their repentance?
O Lord, give me true sorrow for my sins and the resolve to grow each day in the sunshine of Your Grace.
Copyright 2016 Rita Rawson
I am a retired elementary teacher, married, grandmother of five, and currently involved in becoming an Augustinian Oblate. I also participate in a prayer group and facilitate a Bible study.