Gospel Reflections (Luke 13:1-9)

We have seen how St Luke, in his gospel, places great emphasis on Jesus’ message of repentance and forgiveness. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry Peter must admit his sinfulness before he is called to be an apostle; at the end, the good thief acknowledges his guilt and is welcomed into Jesus’ kingdom. This gospel reading, with its historical examples and its parable, reinforces the Old Testament lesson of repentance. Notice also how, in Luke’s account of the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector, the latter wins through: his prayer is only ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner’. Every proclamation of the gospel in Luke’s Acts of the Apostles ends with an appeal for repentance. Repentance means not simply bewailing our sins but doing something about it, changing our way of life, our scale of values. However, we are made in the image of God, and cannot expect God’s forgiveness unless we too follow God’s example and show the same forgiveness to others. The sinful woman who loved much was forgiven much (Luke 7:36-50). Nor is Luke the only evangelist to stress this point. Matthew adds at the end of the Lord’s Prayer the saying of Jesus which underlines the importance of the single petition, ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive others’. If you think of yourself as the fig-tree, what do you consider to be the most ‘rotten’ part of yourself that you really need to change? Would the sacrament of reconciliation help? What sort of injury do you find it hardest to forgive – an affront to your pride, your pocket or your person? Is there anyone you have not forgiven?

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