Commentary on the Gospel of

Fr. Johnson Joseph Thurackal CMF

The reference to the fig tree planted in the vineyard is to be noted with attention. Fig trees are rarely planted in the vineyard because their branches grow big and their roots are harmful to the vine. It speaks of a place of special care and protection which is carefully set apart for the fig tree. Psalms speak of a tree planted by the water. Life and its environments can never be considered coincidental. There are many hands and hard work that turn the surroundings of life into a vineyard.

Yet what could be words of judgments that could come up against the tree of life? A gift returned unopened? A life from which others have not benefitted much? Fruit is the actualization of the tree. Jesus said “a tree is known by its fruit.” It is the realization of the possibilities the creator invested within. Fruit therefore is the gratitude of the tree. To pass over fruitless is to go down without discovering oneself. Even then, God does not take away the right of that tree to exist. “Let it remain for another year, I will work on it. It may yield fruit.” With patience and hope God waits for the fruitless trees to bear fruit.

Can I have a second chance? Many have desperately raised this question even when they know the situation is irreversible. Our God is God of second chance, a God of another chance. Those who survived the cruelty of Herod and the natural calamity at Siloam know what it means to get a second chance. David, Jonah and Peter are some of them from the Bible who testify to the God of another chance. Their lives, thereafter changed the course. God rewrites human life by offering a second chance. Lent is a suitable occasion to experience the power of the second chance to make it up and to make it right.

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