Recording to Come Later.
As a kid, I didn’t like when I had to go out and do yard work. As I’m sure you know it’s laborious work and it can take up a lot of time. It would be a variety of things that I would need to do outside. Pick up sticks so the lawn mower blade wouldn’t get eaten up by sticks. Sometimes I would have to take leaves and put them in bags and to the street. Many times too it would take up a Saturday morning where I would prefer to be in front of the TV playing video games or watching TV, or morning cartoons whatever was on Saturday. Especially during the Summer, it would be hot outside, so that wasn’t great either. As you likely know as hard as this work sometimes can be it is necessary for putting a nice yard together. My parent’s wanted our house to look nice for the grass to be nice and cut, for the driveway to be free of leaves, and to have a nice garden around the house with some good flowers and bushes. You likely know that it can take some hard work to get these things done.
Today Jesus gives us a parable of the tree that hasn’t produced fruit in three years and the gardener wants to cut it down because it is easing the good soil. However the one caring for the tree says, let me cultivate the ground around the tree and if it doesn’t produce in a year than you may cut it down. Maybe he hadn’t taken the time with the tree, but just like we do in gardens. He would remove the weeds from nearby that may be choking off the tree in some way. He may trim some of the branches to give the fruit room to grow. There may be competing plants and trees nearby that don’t produce fruit that he would cut down. Hopefully, his hard work would produce fruit in a year. If not he would cut it down.
This tree can be similar to our lives of faith in the church. We can feel like we are not producing anything like we are not growing in our faith. However, God is patient with us and never wants to give up hope on us. However, he challenges us to let him cultivate the ground of our lives so that we can produce fruit in abundance.
So what does this look like in our faith lives? Simply put it is our efforts during Lent that can help us cultivate the ground of our hearts. But just like planting a garden it takes hard work. Work of getting on your knees and tearing out weeds. The work of digging up plants that have no benefit to us and replacing them with plants that will produce fruit. We can do the same in our lives; there may be sins that we struggle with that are like weeds to our growth in holiness. Our Challenge is to get on our knees and pull out those sins, by going to confession, by bringing our sin before the Lord and saying “Lord heal me from this struggle.” This won’t take overnight, and we will need to be patient. However, don’t be discouraged because the Lord is always patient with us. I also believe the Lord appreciates the effort we put into our cultivating in our lives. He is more concerned about those who do no repentance. Our Gospel tells us that those who died tragically were no more sinners than those who survived. Our Lord wants to pour out his grace on us and his mercy if we simply allow him to pour it out on us and repent we will receive his mercy.
Most of all we shouldn’t forget that Jesus is willing to come down to is and save us from our sinfulness. God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and told him he would come to save his people. God’s promise to us is that he will come to save us as well. The fact is he already did on the cross, and by his death, we have been saved. May we have the courage to do the hard work of Lenten penance and trust God will see our efforts and come down to help us and save us!
Image via Adobe Stock by Maksim Kostenko