Sunday, February 28, 2016
Reflection: Luke 13:1-9
Third Sunday of Lent – Luke 13:1-9
The first part of the Gospel reading for today is sobering. Luke writes about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of sacrifices. Jesus says: “Do you think that the Galileans who suffered were greater than other Galileans?” Jesus continues on in this vein. The point that Jesus is trying to make with the people is that if they do not repent, they will perish.
Jesus then tells them another parable. He says: “There once was a person who planted a fig tree in his garden. When the man came to pick the fruit, the tree had not born any fruit. The man immediately went to his gardener and told him: “For the past three years I have come to pick figs from these trees and for the past three years, the tree has not borne any fruit. I want you to cut the tree down now.” The gardener said: “Sir, I ask you to leave the tree one more year. I will fertilize it and cultivate the ground around it. And if it does not bear fruit this year, then you can cut it down.”
What a patient man this gardener is! The gardener wants to give this tree one more chance. He is unwilling to “cut it down.” It is seldom that anyone has a perfect garden. Gardeners learn to let nature take its course and yet to intervene when it is appropriate. This gardener was determined to try some other tactics before uprooting the plant.
This Gospel gives a wonderful image of God. God is the gardener – a hopeful and patient gardener. God will not toss us aside immediately if we are not bearing fruit. Our gardener, God, will fertilize us, nurture us, and pull the weeds that are growing within and around us. However, we have to allow God to be our gardener. The question for us is: will we bring our weeds to God and ask him to help us uproot the weeds from our hearts?
If we ask God to do so, God will gift and grace us as we work together with God to uproot the weeds from our lives. Hopefully, over time, the weeds will gradually disappear from our lives. We have to trust our Divine Gardener’s timing. We human beings typically want instant answers and instant solutions. However, our weeds may be deeply rooted and it may take time for them to be completely uprooted. Will we trust God, our gardener? Will we strive to be patient with the process?
Today I invite you to ask yourself: What is the weed I want uprooted from my heart and life? Take your desire to God and place it in God’s hands. God is trustworthy! God will not fail you! In the meantime, trust and be patient.