LUKE 13: 1-9
HIS WORDâ€¦JESUS the Gardener: â€œSIR, LEAVE IT FOR THIS YEAR ALSO, AND I SHALL CULTIVATE THE GROUND AROUND IT AND FERTILIZE IT; IT MAY BEAR FRUIT IN THE FUTURE. IF NOT YOU CAN IT DOWN.â€
my wordsâ€¦The pervading spirit of the Lenten Season is â€˜METANOIAâ€™ or â€˜conversionâ€™. And this has something to do with the â€˜insideâ€™ of the person. It is a change of heart, a change of the direction of life. It is a turning point or something pivotal in a personâ€™s inner life. And since it is internal in a person and highly spiritual, only GOD knows everything in a personâ€™s heart. God judges, we cannot.
Brothers and Sisters, this is the whole point of the Gospel of the 3rd Sunday of Lent. We cannot judge or pre-judge a person on the gravity or culpability of his/her sins by our human standard. God has His own way of looking at the heart of the person. Conversion is a grace from God. Culpability is human judgment based on the moral law. The way a person dies does not indicate or necessarily constitute the degree of the gravity of his/her sins nor the type of judgment God will give to the person for we cannot fathom, comprehend, nor circumscribe the mind of God. We cannot judge big or small culpability as in the case of the Galileans whose blood Pilate mixed with the blood of their sacrifices (Lk 13:1), or of those 18 people killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them (Lk 13:4). Only God knows them and only God can make judgments for them and not us.
Yes, we are basically and inherently sinners. And God has given us all the chances in life to be back to Him as shown in the parable of the fruitless fig tree. Our fertilizers are Godâ€™s graces that we receive through the sacraments and the sacramentals. Jesus is our gardener who always gives us all the chances in life. Jesus is our protector and mediator, always interceding for us because He loves us so much that He gave up His life for us for the forgiveness of our sins and that we may have life in Him to the full. Hence on our part, we should reciprocate that love of Jesus for us; we should respond with great love and contrite hearts to Jesus by some changes in our life through the grace of conversion that He offered for us; and let us always come to Him for He is the gardener of life. After all, God is just waiting for us, waiting for our return (like the prodigal son in the next Sundayâ€™s gospel story) lovingly and patiently. His forgiveness abounds. Do not waste time, come to Him.
May this Lenten Season and the discipline and exercises of Lent be fruitful in the renewal of our lives. May we always listen to Godâ€™s patient grace of forgiveness for our sins. May God continue to bless us all the days of our lives.
HAVE A FRUITFUL AND MEANINGFUL RENEWAL OF LIFE THIS LENTEN SEASONâ€¦ (By Fr. Julius C. Lupot)