Friday, 5 March 2010

If it bears fruit next year, well and good (Luke 13:9)

The gospel this weekend is taken from Luke 13:1-9. However, I apology for my regular readers for not having a reflection this week. The student here in St. Saviour's have their Lenten retreat this weekend. As there are a few essays due in the next few weeks, I didn't get a chance around yet to write something decent for this Sunday, and I won't be back to Sunday evening.

Also, the Series of Lenten talks is continuing every Tuesday @8 here in St. Saviour's and Fr. Ciaran Dougherty O.P. will be talking on prayer as part of Dominican Spirituality coming Tuesday. However, the week after is my turn, so I have to start thinking in writing that talk as well.

Nevertheless, there was a thought that struck me when reading the gospel this morning during my meditation.

We read that "some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices." (Luk 13:1 RSV) In the tradition of the time, this would often been seen as a punishment of sin, either by the person themselves or by some of the ancestors. The same would count for people with (physical) disabilities.

Jesus is very aware of this and answers "I tell you, No;" (Luk 13:3 RSV), it is not because of their sin that this happened. However, he adds "but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luk 13:3 RSV). Is there a inconsistency here, or a contradiction?

I think Jesus is saying two things here. Bad things happen to good people, but also, what somebody does has consequences. In other words, misfortune is part of life, and it has not necessarily anything to do with how somebody conducts his or her life. However, what we do has consequences, and even if it might not be clearly visible in this life.

But it is not just fire and brimstone, God is not just punishing people whether here on earth or hereafter... The vine-dresser asks the Lord when he wants to cut down the tree: "Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure.And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down." (Luk 13:8-9 RSV) The Lord is patient with us, He wants us to change our ways.

"For I have no pleasure in the death of any one, says the Lord GOD; so turn, and live." (Eze 18:32 RSV). Going back to my new, or additional, hobby horse, this is a life of virtue in which we grow closer to God. God is always inviting us to a closer union with Him. However, if we choose not too, and we deliberately separate ourselves in this life from Him it might pave our own way of eternal rejection by us of God. "But unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luk 13:3 RSV)

Well, just a thought as I said...

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