God Offers a Second Chance

03-24-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

The liturgy of the Third Sunday of Lent begins by acknowledging God´s holiness and his claim on us that we belong to him. It recognizes that we are his own people, and must live in a way that reflects his holiness. God offers us the gift of faith as our path towards holiness. At the same time we all want and desire to live a peaceful life. We all want to make sense of our existence. We all desire to live a life where we can make a positive contribution to ourselves, to our families and to those around us. Challenges are always with us, difficulties surround us. However the more we long, desire and develop a personal and ultimate relationship with Jesus Christ as our best friend, there is absolutely nothing that we cannot face and overcome. Indeed we become the "power and the wisdom of God".

In this season of Lent, we prepare for the feast of Easter by trying to purify our body and spirit, in order to abundantly receive the fruits of the Redemption of the Lord. Today the church invites us to reflect on the urgency of repentance in an attempt to enhance our Christian lives. For us Christians lent is a time for serious, disciplined self-examination, a time spent in intensive prayer and repentance before the cross of Calvary. God personally calls each one of us to return to Him with all our hearts, with fasting, prayer and total surrender to him.

Today's gospel tells us that God, in his infinite goodness, offers us that possibility: to reverse the consequences of our previous decisions. God offers a second chance. The farmer, in today's gospel, goes to his fig-tree to find some fruits but there is nothing yet. This is the third year that he has done this. Some scripture scholars think that this reference to 'three years' (Lk 13:7) might refer to Jesus' years of public ministry and his visit to Jerusalem these years (Jn 9:3). But the owner of the vineyard is ready to wait one more year. Meanwhile he is going to offer better opportunity to the tree by digging round it and providing manure. Yes, God is patient to wait one more year. He has given us one more season of Lent. How do we want to respond to this? During this season of lent we ask the grace to live in a continual spirit of renewal and repentance.

Repentance demands that we become honest to ourselves and recognize our unfruitfulness and change ourselves to bear the right fruit for God. Moses was asked to change his view and do his mission. Each fig tree is expected to bear fruit that represent the good works and virtues of those who help to build the Body of Christ. Each must answer his/her calling according to where he/she has been sent by God. The fig tree is called upon to be generous in the fulfillment of the mission. We have to recognize our nothingness before God and be ready to receive him during this season of lent. It is only after such a serious reflection that we shall have that remorse for our failures. Let us ask ourselves, whether God is using this Lenten Season to shower his abundant graces upon us through Jesus Christ so we will repent and transform our lives.