At liturgy on the Third Sunday of Lent, we used the readings from cycle C of the lectionary. Our Gospel reading brought forth the parable about the non-productive fig tree. The owner of the orchard waited for three years for some return, and when none was forthcoming, the owner instructed the gardener to "cut it down". But the gardener intervened, asking for a second chance to try to bring forth a yield.
Lent is a time to renew our effort to cultivate our Faith, to be sure that we are bearing fruit, to till the soil. It often requires hard work and persistence. It sometimes means dealing with (excuse the expression) the crap that comes our way, for it too can make us stronger. The entire thrust of Lent is to repent of sin, to move forward in grace, to step up to the plate and allow God's love to produce in us holiness of life.
We have a very patient and loving God. We have as our Lord one who, like the gardener in the parable, is willing to intervene on our behalf, providing us with another opportunity to bear fruit. Our gardener, Jesus, is willing to work with us to make it happen. But it takes two to tango. We must respond to the loving care given to us by Christ, or we will lose the right to live.
I confessed to our people that I am one of the world's greatest procrastinators. I would rather put off until tomorrow what could be accomplished today. On the rare occasion, I have found that this can be effective for me, but in most circumstances I end up losing. Procrastination does not fit in well with living. And when it comes to the life and death issue of our relationship with God, it cannot even be considered, unless you have a death wish. Now is the time! This is the moment! Our response must be a clear YES in this moment of grace! Maybe, with the efforts of the Master Gardner, Jesus, we may bear the fruit that the Father desires. Don't procrastinate.
ps Speaking of putting things off, I did not procrastinate with the posting of this reflection. It is just that my internet connection at the house was down yesterday.