Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day 19- When, Lord?

Today's gospel, for those who are not using cycle A, deals with a subject we seem to try to avoid, judgement. There are two competing and equal wrong extremes into which we can fall. The modern tendency is to dismiss Hell and punishment by focusing solely on the love of God, and dismissing the concept of justice. Equally wrong is the ancient concept Jesus deals with in the gospel of a God whose punishment was immediate; you offended God, and something bad happened to you.
A tower had fallen and killed 18 people in Siloam. Some had immediately jumped to the conclusion that this was punishment from God. Jesus makes it clear that this is not how God works. Accidents happen.
Jesus then takes the story one step further less they walk away thinking there is never any punishment and add the parable of the fig tree. One person gets frustrated because it isn't producing and wants to cut it down:
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?
But the gardener's response is leave it, fertilize it, and tend it.
It ultimately it produces no fruit it will be cut down.
So is our Christian understanding of God. Is there a judgement? Yes. But it happens at the end of our life. Until that last moment of our earthly life, there is always hope of conversion. Hope that there will arise in the person that faith the size of the mustard seed.
This gospel also reminds us as a Church that we must carry on the work of the gardener, never giving up hope, constantly tending and nourishing even the most fruitless trees. There is will a judgement, but God is the only judgement. Our task is to garden.