‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts,’ says the Lord. Isaiah 55:9
O God, the fountain of life,
to a humanity parched with thirst
you offer the living water that springs from the
rock, our Saviour Jesus Christ:
stir up within your people the gift of your Spirit,
that we may profess our faith with freshness
and announce with joy the wonder of your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
- Isaiah 55:1-9
- Psalm 63:1-9
- 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
- Luke 13:1-9
- Joshua 5:2-12
- Psalm 32
- 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
- Luke 15:11-32
A Thought to Ponder
Lent 3 – Luke 13:1-9
“A person had a fig tree planted in his orchard: ‘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 I exhaust the soil?’ The gardener replied, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilise it; it may bear fruit in the future.”
The belief prevailed in Jesus’ time that disasters and catastrophes were signs of God’s anger against sinful individuals or people – those massacred in the temple by Pilate’s soldiers during what the Romans perceived as a “revolt” and the workers who were killed when the tower they were building collapsed must have been sinners. Nonsense, Jesus says in today’s Gospel. In this present age, neither good fortune nor calamity are indicators of one’s favour or disfavour with God.
The parable of the fig tree is a parable of crisis and compassion: the fig tree draws strength and sustenance from the soil but produces nothing in return. Its only value is as firewood. God is the ever-patient gardener who gives every “fig tree” all the time, care and attention it needs to harvest.
The parable of the fig tree has been called the “Gospel of the second chance.” The vinedresser pleads for the tree, asking that it be given another year to bear fruit.
We are called to be signs of hope and “cultivators” of promise for our world: to “plant” and nurture generosity and kindness in the simple offerings of our time, our abilities, our care for those “fig trees” struggling to realise their harvest.
Despite the sadness and tragedy that can cut down our lives in disappointment and despair, God continues to plant in our midst opportunities to start over, to try again, to rework things, to move beyond our hurt and pain to make things right.
The challenge of the Gospel is to take up the crosses of our lives — the crosses that are part of every human experience — and transform them into vehicles of resurrection, seeds for new life, the means for bringing light and hope into life’s winters capes of darkness and despair.
Christ calls us to embrace the hope of the fig tree and the determination of the gardener, to remember God’s endless grace enables us to experience the promise of resurrection in every “death” and Good Friday we experience.
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