Gospel Reflection for March 24, 2019, 3rd Sunday of Lent
Sunday Readings: Exodus 3.1-8, 13-15; 1 Corinthians 10.1-6,10-12; Luke 13.1-9
Jesus spoke a parable. A man had a fig tree, came looking for figs, but found none. He said to the gardener, “For three years I have come looking for figs and found none. Cut it down. . .” The gardener said, “Sir, leave it one more year while I hoe around it and manure it. Perhaps then it will bear figs.” – Luke 13.7-8
How do we see ourselves in Jesus’ parable? What to do with a tree that bears no fruit? Who likes to cut down a tree? If we think of the gardener as God, then God is nurturing, caring more about another chance to bear fruit than cutting it down. If we think of the tree as ourselves or our children, who doesn’t need or won’t give another chance to grow? A fourth, a fifth?
In the Old Testament steadfast, generative love is God’s signature characteristic. Sunday’s responsorial psalm provides one of the most famous descriptions of God: “Merciful and gracious is the Holy One, slow to anger and abounding in kindness” (103.8).
Our daily interactions cultivate conversion. Like the gardener we nourish and encourage one another. Listening to others can cultivate the fruit of compassion or courage or insight. Other believers can freshen our commitments.
In what ways are you like the owner of the fig tree? In what ways like the gardener? What or whom will you give one more chance to bear fruit? What special care with this require?
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