Lectio Divina: 2022-03-18

Lectio Divina took the reading for the 3rd Sunday in Lent Year C.

Luke 13:1-9 Unless you repent you will perish as they did.

One

In this parable the Vineyard owner is God the Father, the gardener is Jesus and the fig tree could be each one of us. God continues to look for our fruitfulness but He won’t wait forever. Jesus pleads for us to be given another chance, another year, another day, another moment to bear fruit for our Heavenly Father. We must turn away from our sins or we will die to God. It can’t be made clearer than that.

A Prayer for Ukraine and Russia

God of peace and justice,
We pray for the people of Ukraine and Russia today.
We pray for peace and the laying down of weapons.
We pray for all those who fear for tomorrow,
that your Spirit of comfort would draw near to them.
We pray for those with power over war and peace,
for wisdom, discernment and compassion
to guide their decisions.
Above all, we pray for all the precious children, at risk and in fear,
that you would hold and protect them.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Amen.

Archbishop Justin Welby
Archbishop Stephen Cottrell

Two

The man looking after the vineyard said ‘give me time’.

How many times have I asked God to give me more time and I will become a more loving and devoted Christian. Have I been successful ? If I am really honest the answer has to be no. I know I try and I know I fail. Over time I feel I am growing closer to God, however with hindsight I now realise I have wasted so much time dithering over things that are not important. Time with God is precious so I must try harder.

My school report had comments like ‘he has the potential to improve’. I will be happy if my saviour writes on my final report ‘he has realised his potential’ Here’s hoping.

Three

“Unless you repent you will all perish as they did“

Some clear words of warning from Jesus, who warns us not to be too satisfied with ourselves and our ways. Is there something I feel called to change, perhaps a relationship which isn’t quite right? I ask Jesus to let me hear his voice and act on his words.

God is always patient with us. He is always willing to give us more time, God trusts us to bear fruit even after many barren years.

I wonder, am I ready to believe in myself as God believes in me?

I also wonder, am I patient with myself and with others as God is?

Four

I love echoes; never miss a chance to cause one whenever I go under a bridge, whether alone or with others!

In today’s reading I hear a loud echo: “Repent… repent.” For me there is a third echo, as yesterday I was reading the Book of Esther: ( I thought I’d celebrate our Jewish roots for the feast of “Purim”.)

Chapter 4:14
True, no mention of “Repent” but Esther is called to consider that her position in the royal household is God-given for the sake of her Jewish people. My response: repent for the times I have not recognised the importance of being called to a particular place, family, way of life specifically for others.

I believe there is a certain “provisionality ” about our lives. We do not accidentally hold a certain place in history but we provide, for better or worse for others who travel with us or come after. Our ancestors held this place for us and we can sometimes sense whether or not they held their position well.

So, “repent” echoes for me. Let me remember more fully I am here now for others, to act/speak up for others, pray and intercede for others, at this very time. Maybe their welfare/peace/ shalom depend on it.

I thank Jesus for the reparation he has made for me and beg grace never to leave my post, to act with discernment, cooperating with him in the Divine Will.

(I feel there are some missing links in the expression of my thoughts, but maybe you catch my drift?)

God bless you all in all your ways in the coming week.

Five

Today Jesus reminds us that our salvation is not from our own effort but a priceless gift from God through Jesus. Our only job is to ask God to forgive us and be in our lives. Humanity is all in the same boat, we are all sinners in need of a saviour.

I love the parable it shines out Gods mercy, he’s always looking for ways to help us to draw us, calling our name to come back to him, no one is too far away, no one too difficult for God to help and restore. Thank you Lord for your great love and mercy.

God bless you all

Six

Watching and listening to the news each day reiterates the fact that we don’t know when our earthly life will come to and end and what will matter then will be my relationship with God and how I have lived my life -how will my life be judged? Each evening as I review and reflect on my day I am so often conscious of my need to repent – metanoia- change my heart and direction. Repentance is not only immediate but on going and as illustrated by the parable of the fig tree God is patient with me but ultimately I will be cut down if my life is fruitless.

A fig tree can take 3-4 yrs to reach maturity and bear good fruit. God is giving me time, caring for me and loving me. He knows what I need to bear this good fruit and that may involve “manure” – challenges and difficulties along the way that are opportunities for growth.

I pray that in my thoughts and through my words and actions I will bear healthy fruit that helps to people to draw nearer to God and not turn them away.

Love and blessings

Seven

The story of the fig tree is a reminder that God’s love is constantly pouring forth, feeding and nourishing us. He will not abandon us. As we become open to His love and seek His will we change and grow in spite of ourselves. I am so grateful.

I know in my heart He is present to each and every one of us, but yesterday I had my doubts. I felt overwhelmed with the war in the Ukraine. As I walked with a friend and shared my thoughts she just kept encouraging me to Trust Him and I came away feeling more grounded. He may not stop the war but His love is overflowing on the battlefield drawing the people close to Him. How many times have they heard His words ‘Do not be afraid.’ This is His world and He will have the final say.

The power of darkness will not have victory over Your love Lord.

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Eight

Friends:

Jesus’s listeners have their attention fixed on those who perished – “them”.

Jesus turns their attention to themselves “unless you repent you will perish like them.”

To me it’s another version of “take the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye.

The fig tree (more precisely the sycamore fig tree – remember Zaccheus? – meant more to the Jews than to us – it was always symbolic of Israel, so this story is about God’s patience with Israel – give them another chance to repent.

And by extension or implication God’s patience with us, and thus we are to be more patient with each other and with ourselves – all the same thing really!

Pax

Nine

Dear friends,

My word today was ‘fruit’.

In the first part of today’s Gospel appears a common idea of the time, people to whom happened bad things, as having leprosy or in this case die, was thought to be due to their sins: it was because they were sinners. But we all sin, and we don’t die on the same day, or all suffer very damaging, debilitating or fatal illnesses. Honestly, is it not comparable to the cult to the perfect youthful and healthy body our modern society sells us, in which, directly or subliminally is confused the physical ‘perfection’ with goodness?

I remember that the contrary appeared to the eyes of my eldest daughter, when little, she said this man was handsome, because she saw in him goodness, or this lady was beautiful because she saw in her kindness.

God sees beyond appearances, and loves us all despite our sinful life, and see us all as beautiful children.

Thus is why the parable of the Fig Tree gives me HOPE; our Lord, says to the Father, no, wait a minute, give me more time, I am going to invest energy, care, and love in this tree, or this person. Give him/ her one more chance to produce good fruit.

Indeed, He is the Lord of the many chances, always with the cross open arms, waiting for us to come back to Him, repenting from our wrong doings, saying ‘ for you I die in this cross, there is no sin bigger than my sacrifice and love for you. COME TO ME.’