God’s mercy is unfathomable to humankind. We have no markers, no boundaries for understanding the greatness of his love for us, the lengths he goes to to forgive us. He even makes excuses for our sins as he did from the cross: “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.”
The parable that Jesus spoke at the end of today’s Gospel is a window into the love that Jesus has for us. Jesus does not like to punish in the way that humans often like to punish. Our need to punish others is a gut reaction from deep within us, and we find it very difficult to play down this need. It is often much harder to forgive than to condemn. And the need to condemn spreads like wildfire through humanity, catching from one person, one nation, one culture to the next.
Jesus’ was a different way, a way that requires more discipline, more Love for a neighbour, more empathy. Jesus was bursting with embassy of love and he still gives us unfathomable mercies now, through the Sacraments, through prayer, through our meeting him in our fellow humans. After all: ‘Whatsoever you do to the least of my sisters and brothers, you do unto me.’
As we ponder and pray during this Lenten season, we should remember that we already have the tools we need to follow Christ. We have the parables in the Gospels, through which we can sit down with Jesus and hear his teachings. We have the Sacraments to which we can go for sustenance. And we have this broken world within which we can work at being the Ambassadors of the mercy of Christ. In many ways, ours is an easier way than the disciples’ journeys because we know what happened; we have the genealogy of the story of Christ and the traditions of the Church.
If we were the tree at the close of today’s Gospel, then what would the owner of the vineyard say of us? May we use this lenten season to become worthy trees in the vineyard of the Lord, to bear abundant fruit, and to praise with our very existence the beauty of all creation.
The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke
Glory to you, Lord.
Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem?
They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’
He told this parable:
‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”‘
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you , Lord Jesus Christ