Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.
Today's Gospel: Luke 13:1-9
Today we hear Jesus’s unmistakable reply to the American prosperity gospel, that insidious, dangerous proposition that we can “name and claim” our blessings. Good things happen to good people, this false gospel teaches; bad things . . . well, you can figure out the rest.
Jesus provides us with two real-life examples and a corollary parable. In the historical events of the Galilean sacrifice and falling of the tower, he offers a reminder that death comes for all people, good or bad, often in untimely and unlooked-for ways. Jesus’s passionate, ungentle words are meant to restore focus. He isn’t speaking about the perishing of our bodies, however bloodied and crushed they may be. He calls us further, to be responsible for the life — or death — of our eternal souls.
“If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did.”
Perish not by the sword or with a boulder to the head, but spiritually dead for eternity, buried beneath the weight of our unforgiven sins and our unloving hearts.
Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean you’re living the life God intends for you.
The parable reaffirms this. A barren fig tree is granted one extra year of life to bear fruit — not because it is bearing the fruit that is due, but precisely because it isn’t.
Sometimes God permits suffering for a greater good, like remembering our reliance on Him. But sometimes, as with the fig tree, God calls us back to Himself by withholding suffering. He grants us a reprieve in which to reorient ourselves to our ultimate aim: heaven.
Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day” gives us a modern reframing of this Gospel’s take-home message: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
What parts of your spiritual life are as barren as the fig tree right now? How can you set your hand to nourishing the soil (now, today!) to encourage rich fruit?
Jesus, keep the goal of eternal life always before my eyes. Guard me from complacency and fill me with zeal for heaven.
Copyright 2022 Christy Wilkens
About the Author
Christy Wilkens, wife and mother of six, is an armchair philosopher who lives in Austin, TX. She writes at FaithfulNotSuccessful.com about disability, faith, doubt, suffering, community, and good reads. Her first book, Awakening at Lourdes: How an Unanswered Prayer Healed Our Family and Restored Our Faith, a memoir about a pilgrimage with her husband and son, will be released by Ave Maria Press in 2021.