The call for repentance
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - March 24, 2019 - 12:00am

It’s the third Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our gospel reading comes from Luke 13:1-9, this is entitled a “Call to Repentance” which we Christians should all do in this season of Lent. Repentance means, we are reunited with God where he forgives all our sins, something we shouldn’t be scared to do because God sent his only begotten son, our Lord Jesus Christ in order to bring humanity back to Paradise which Adam and Eve lost for us. Hence, for our sakes, we must find ways to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and have our sins forgiven. So allow me to bring you Luke 13: 1-9 and read this gospel passage intently so we would understand what the Lord Jesus is telling us about repentance.

“13 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

“6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ 8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

***

There are two stories in today’s gospel reading. The first part deals with the story that the Galileans whom the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate must have tortured and killed. The people surrounding our Lord Jesus wanted to know whether those Galileans killed were worse sinners than the Galileans spared. But our Lord Jesus replied to them, “3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” The Jews mistakenly thought that the Galileans killed by Pilate were worse sinners than those spared, but our Lord merely told them the truth that they should all repent or everyone will perish.

What Jesus really meant was even if the other Galileans died, but were not killed, for as long as they did not repent their sins, they would all perish and by this he meant perish in hell if they did not repent. Unfortunately the Jews failed to understand what the Lord was telling them. Today, we are in the Season of Lent and the Catholic Church has exhorted the faithful to repent and be restored to the friendship with God. With so much teaching about repentance in the Catholic Church, there is no more need for me to explain this.

So let’s talk about the second part of today’s gospel, where the Lord came upon a fig tree that didn’t bear any fruit in the last three years and suggested to the man in the vineyard to cut it down because it simply wasted the soil that it grew upon. But the man pleaded and said to give him a year and he would try to make it bear fruit…if not, then the tree would be cut down.

What our Lord really meant was that God created man to be of help to other people who may be in need. After all, everyone is given talents of different kinds by God and he expects us to use those talents and be useful to our community. In short, what the Lord suggests is that man should be of great use to his fellowmen, otherwise God might as well cut him down for being useless to the community. But then a man might ask God not to cut you down first, but try to make you understand that the community needs you and perhaps that is when he might bear some fruit. If he doesn’t then God should cut him down. vsbobita@mozcom.com

REPENTANCE
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