October 26, 2013

The Gospel Today

Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time 

Luke 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them—
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, 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 cut it down.’”

Reflection (Sem. Emmanuel Calumpong):

          When typhoons Ondoy and Pablo hit the country that caused great devastation in Luzon and Mindanao, not a few people considered them as part of God’s wrath because of the people’s neglect of the environment.

          Like the people in the gospel, we are tempted to say that the victims of destructive calamities were punished for their sins.  But Jesus warns us that it is not for us to judge people and their sins.  No one but God really knows what is in the human heart.  Jesus’ warning is followed by a parable about a fig tree.  When the owner of the tree found out that it had not borne fruits after three years, he gave the tree one more chance, allowing the gardener to cultivate and fertilize it.  The parable conveys that God is very patient with us.

          I read this story many years back about a man living in the hurricane-prone suburbs of Florida.  He went to a department store and bought a fine barometer.  Delighted with his acquisition, he hurried home and proudly hung it on his living room wall.  But what he saw made him very angry.  The barometer reading indicated “Hurricane”.  Convinced that he had been sold a defective instrument, he walked back to the department store, handed the barometer to the sales clerk and complained that what he sold him was defective.  Despite the explanation of the sales clerk that the product was brand new, the man still insisted that he did not like the instrument and asked for a replacement. The sales clerk obliged and gave the man the replacement he asked for. The man headed for home with his new barometer, but when he arrived there, his house had been blown away!

          Instead of covering up our faults or blaming others for something, let us face the truth about us and make the necessary steps to reform.

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