Saturday 22 October 2022 – MAKE BEST OF TIME

29th Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Eph 4:7-16

Brothers and sisters: Grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore, it says: He ascended on high and took prisoners captive; he gave gifts to men. What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended into the lower regions of the earth? The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole Body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the Body’s growth and builds itself up in love.

Gospel: Lk 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.’”

MAKE BEST OF TIME: The Lord expects us to yield fruits. Israel was a chosen people by God but when it failed to listen and bear fruits of the kingdom, it was cut away and other took its position. The tragedies and incidents like Pilate’s killing of the Galileans and the death of 18 when the tower at Siloam fell on them, are reminders for us to take stock of our own lives lest far greater disaster shall befall on us on the judgment day. God is eager and willing as the gardener to work extra hard in order to achieve our conversion, growth and a fruitful harvest, but we need to grasp the opportunities and amend our ways. What do we do with the gifts offered to us in sacraments, Word of God and other moments of graces? Let us not waste the opportunities that God graciously offers.

Prayer: Lord, give us the grace of conversion.

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REPENT OR DIE: “Those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh” says St Paul in Romans. Their mind space is all given for the material, worldly and sensual things. These are matters that will not win appreciation from God, but instead spell hostility from God. Jesus calls such people for repentance. Though God’s mercy may appear an endless long rope, it is gradually shortening and time is running out. Let us change our ways, promptly. In the Gospel, we realise that many died for sins, less grievous than ours. We are therefore called to repent or die. The fig tree is cut after bearing no fruits. In the same way, if we do not listen to the ministers of the Gospel, repent and bear fruit, we shall perish. Jesus is calling us to repent in order to inherit His Kingdom.

PRAYER: God who shapes our destinies, give us your light that we may glorify you with our lives.

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GOD’S MERCIES ARE ALWAYS NEW: When someone suffers a misfortune, we make judgmental conclusions. The Jews were keeping such attitudes and Jesus refutes them. He clarifies that calamities and misfortunes are not God’s punishment for our sins. Otherwise, we will all perish. He asks us: “Do you think they were more guilty than everyone else?” (Lk 13: 2). If sin were the criteria, who is free? (Jn 8: 7). Jesus goes further and corrects their image of God. God’s justice is not our justice. Pope Francis announcing the Year of Mercy said: “The Father goes beyond justice with his mercy and forgiveness. Mercy is not opposed to justice but rather expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe” (Misericodiae Vultus, 21). God gives us always a new opportunity to start afresh.