Relationships and Second Chances

Relationships and Second Chances

By Elizabeth Chesley-Jewell

Lent is a struggle for many of us. We strive to develop better habits, but it is a challenge to stay on course. The readings for this week remind us to focus on the strong relationship we have with Jesus and how failure does not necessarily equal disownment by our God. The man who comes upon the barren fig tree in our Gospel speaks of it the way we often speak about ourselves. “Cut it down. Why should it be wasting soil?” How often do we believe we are of no value because we have made a mistake or given in to temptation? Instead of saying to ourselves, “I have done something wrong or bad”, we believe we are bad and not worth the time of others. Each one of us has good fruit to bear but we cannot do it if we refuse to acknowledge that we are inherently good and have much to contribute to the world. It is the gardener who speaks on behalf of the fig tree. He asks that he be given some time to prune and care for the tree so that it will be able to bear fruit. This is Jesus our Lord. If we place ourselves entirely in His care, He will take away the things that block us from bearing good fruit; our self-doubt, hesitations and fears. We are not able to bear fruit if we close ourselves off from the one who loves us unconditionally. Since we are humans, and not trees, this requires immense work on our part as we must let go of all ego and pride and open ourselves up to God. Because of this the Sacrament of Confession can feel like a daunting task. This is why we require preparation. We admit that we deserve Gods love and let go of all the things that keep us from it. We do just as much work as the gardener. God longs to have a relationship with us and we long to have a relationship with God. In our first reading Moses looks upon the burning bush and asks for God’s name. God responds with, “I Am.” A name is so important because it sets up the possibility of fostering a relationship. We know God’s name, but it is so difficult to allow ourselves to feel the overwhelming love that comes with the knowledge that God knows our name. It is another way that we are hindered from bearing fruit. Yet, God is still here and loving us in all our humanity. Today let us pray that each of us may look more kindly on ourselves so we may have the courage to bear the good fruit that God intended us to bear, and share it with the world. Sunday’s Readings: Exodus 3.1-8a, 13-15 Psalm 103 1 Corinthians 10.1-6, 10-12 Luke 13.1-9