Exhausting The Soil?

seed-sower-no-border

I was thinking that a good title for today’s scripture reflection might be that bad things happen to good people. We know that to be true. We wonder how good people in our lives become afflicted with illness, trials and even death. I am not sure if the Galileans or the people at Siloam were “good people” but Jesus today poses some questions in the Gospel of Luke 13:1-9 to make a point about repentance and He tells us … 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!”

A definition of repentance that I like says “Voluntary sorrow because it offends God, for having done something wrong, together with the resolve to amend one’s conduct by taking the necessary means to avoid the occasions of sin. To repent is to be sorry for sin with self-condemnation. (Etym. Latin repoenitere, to be very sorry, regret intensely.)” 

I believe that God is so merciful, and there is no sin of mine, that He will not forgive. God loves me so much, that is not in question, but what is in question, is how much do I love God and am willing to accept and cooperate His grace to repent. I think that God has been more than patient with me. I have fallen to sin, over and over, and continue to return to Him, begging Him again, for His mercy. How long will His patience last? The second half of today’s Gospel sheds some light … 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.’”

When I continue to sin and am not open to use all the gifts I have been given to build God’s Kingdom, I “exhaust the soil”, but with my repentance and God’s mercy, I am fertilized by Jesus, the gardener in His mercy. His grace helps me bear fruit. But back to my original thought, even cooperating with the grace of God, bad things may still happen, even when I am good and producing fruit because following Jesus is the way of the cross. So yes, bad things do happen to good people and we are called to continue to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.

Image from google.com
Mike Burke; Saturday, October 22, 2016
Advertisements
Exhausting The Soil?

Repentance & Mercy

images

Luke 12:10, Matthew 12:31 and Mark 3:29 were very troubling passages for me early in my Christian journey. I used to wonder, have I ever blasphemed the Holy Spirit? The explanation in 1864 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is one I recite daily as a reminder of God’s mercy and as a prayer. It says …

“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss. (1864 CCC)

God’s mercy is so much greater than our sins, and as the teaching tells us, there are no limits to His mercy. Glory and praise to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Image from google.com
Mike Burke; Saturday, October 15, 2016
Repentance & Mercy

Raising Up The Lowly

abb902e4b071090ec91f5781519a94bc

I was reading today’s Gospel from Luke 11:29-32, which talks about condemnation of people who will not repent. Jesus tells us … “This generation is an evil generation.” I can look at the world today and see it very clearly. Sometimes, I can look in the mirror and see it clearly as well.  But I was actually uplifted by the message of repentance as well as the Responsorial Psalm 113 which tells me … “He raises up the lowly from the dust; from the dunghill he lifts up the poor.”

You see, as I laid down my head to rest last night, I felt like a had fallen into a dunghill. Yesterday, I had a complete day to myself to do whatever I want. My days have been filled with work and many other opportunities to serve. When I have time to myself like I did yesterday, I am not always happy with the choices I make. I take on a selfish attitude where I, and my desires, become more important to me. I will leave it at that and try to practice and accept what I always seem to write … “Our God is a merciful God.” Being humbled and repenting is a good thing. Lord have mercy on me a sinner. Amen.

Image from google.com
Mike Burke; Monday, October 10, 2016
Raising Up The Lowly