Faith Daily | 23 October 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST Pentecost 21
your Son has opened for us
a new and living way into your presence:
give us pure hearts and steadfast wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 13: 1-9
At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”
6Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Peta-Anne Warwick
How interesting the wording “there were some present”. Who were they and what was their intent in telling Jesus the horror of Pilate’s brutal treatment of Galilean pilgrims? Perhaps they were just the locals gathered around the water well chatting, sharing news or gossiping. I wonder whether they were hoping for reassurance that those who suffered “got what they deserved” because they were the worst of sinners.
Jesus does not reassure them. He seizes two recent tragedies that resulted in people dying with little warning and no apparent reason – one an instance of terror at the hands of Pilate and one a random accident – to highlight the need to repent and reorientate priorities. Jesus implies that the victims had done nothing to cause their demise; and that we must not equate tragedy with divine punishment. Jesus does not explain the causes of violence that nature and human beings inflict on unsuspecting people and he does not defend creation or the Creator. He uses the events to stress the suddenness of death and the unpredictability of life. He asks instead “How will you live the life you get to live?”.
If we see ourselves as the barren fig tree, the tree is not left to its own devices. The gardener does everything possible to get the tree to act as it should. Correspondingly, God does not leave people to their own resources but encourages their repentance. Each day is a day of grace, providing the opportunity to repent and bear fruit. Who knows what that is for each of us; but if we live by the Spirit and listen to the guidance of the Spirit, those fruits will be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
FINAL PRAYER: https://catholicreadings.org/the-parable-of-the-barren-fig-tree)
Lord, I know that I always am in need of Your love and care in my life.
I need to be nourished by You so that I can bear the fruit that You desire from me.
Help me to be open to the ways in which You wish to nourish my soul,
so that I can accomplish all that You have in mind for me.
Jesus, I trust in You.