When I was very young, maybe five years old, I was very upset about something - so upset I decided to run away from home. I can remember going to the kitchen to get a paper grocery bag in which to pack my things. I was packing my dresses, hangers and all, in the bag when Mom came in asking me to stay. I can still feel my determination to leave. She told me how much she would miss me. I was still going. She suggested I stay long enough for supper (beef roast - one of my favorites) and to say goodbye to Dad. She said she was sorry I was so upset. I’m not sure if the beef roast, saying goodbye to Dad, or the apology changed my mind, but I decided to stay - at least through supper. I can remember telling Mom I would give her “one more chance.”
Today’s gospel talks about second chances. Fig trees generally bear fruit for ten months out of the year. After years of being barren, the fig tree was in danger of being cut down by its owner. The gardener asked for one more year. He promised to give the tree special attention. Give the tree another chance!
As I reflect on this reading, it reminds me that our God is a God of second chances! We can all name times when we were happy to have had a second chance - to say we are sorry, to forgive someone, to be forgiven. What’s more, when we find ourselves barren and lifeless, just like the gardener in Luke’s gospel, God is right there with us to protect us, to nurture us, and to give us the chance to grow and bear fruit. God doesn’t ask us to get it right the first time. God does ask us, and help us to keep trying, And we too, can help one another. During this week of Lent, I invite you to think about a time you were forgiven. Or perhaps to pray about someone you need to forgive. How might you bring new life to a relationship in need of cultivation and nurturing?
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC