2019 Lenten Reflections - 3rd Sunday of Lent
In the Gospel on this Third Sunday of Lent we hear a parable in which a wealthy landowner is disgusted with a fig tree repeatedly failing to bear fruit. Outraged, the man demands that his gardener cut down the tree. The gardener, however, pleads with his supervisor, believing another year of cultivation will help the frail fig tree flourish.
Maybe you relate to the impatience of the landowner or the failings of the fig tree, but today we focus on the gardener. He dedicates his time to the tree, and vows to continue his care for it. The gardener holds steadfast in his commitment to an effort that appears hopeless, to a tree that appears fruitless.
In this season of Lent, we can often focus too much on ourselves. We think about what we can give up or what we can take on. And these are important things, to be sure. But Lent is also a special opportunity to intentionally reflect on where we witness the Gospel lived out in ordinary ways. The quiet, steady, and gentle commitment of the gardener is an authentic and humble example of this. What a vibrant model of Christian discipleship for us!
With this we ponder: Who are the gardeners in our lives? Who do we witness on a daily basis modeling similar hope, compassion, generosity and commitment? Our society, our Church, and our places of work so often become bogged down in grand visions of success, compelling metrics, and prestigious titles.
Maybe Lent doesn’t always need to be a season of significant sacrifice; of abstaining, dieting, and avoiding. Maybe it’s simply rooting ourselves to the place we’re in, and truly, intentionally, looking around. Just as the gardener couldn’t take his gaze off this little tree, where around us do we witness this radical reverence and love?