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What Did I Do To Deserve This! -- Last Sunday's Sermon

The Gospel Reading

Luke 13:1-9

At that very time there were some present who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them--do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did."

Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?' He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"

The Sermon

What Did I Do To Deserve This!

Today's reading from Luke hits upon a touchy subject. Jesus is asked if the people in this event were especially sinful and because of their sinfullness, they received such awful deaths. He tells them no and then he tells them that there are consequences for sin and none of us knows when our end will come.

The idea of sin was drilled into me when I was a child. At age seven or eight I was pretty sure I was going to hell for my sins. I even remember sitting in catechism class at Sacred Heart and seeing a graphic picture in the book we were studying. In it were three children standing at a busy city street corner. They had been attempting to cross the street and had been nearly hit by a speeding car. In the next panel the young boy says to the other children, “I am so glad that car didn't hit us because I have a mortal sin on my soul.” It doesn't say what evil thing the child had done but I was pretty sure that boy was a lot like me.

The idea of sin needs to be balanced and the idea of consequences for sin should find balance as well. I remember a fellow priest telling me once that she wasn't sure she committed sins except that her biggest sin might be that she tries to do too much. In the lexicon of sins I do not think trying to do too much is on God's radar.

I think Jesus is telling us that we should live our lives as if it is our last day because it just might be.

I want to spend a little time talking about the parable of the fig tree. This poor tree has not done well. It is scraggly and never bears fruit but the gardener asks that he be given a chance to nurture this tree back to health. We don't get to hear how this story ends and maybe we do not need to. I would like to think that the tree flourished after getting some TLC from the gardener.

Jesus is of course talking about us. We need to spiritually nourish ourselves in order to be healthy and bear spiritual fruit. It is funny how that works. People who are spiritually healthy have a positive effect on others. It is a ripple effect if you will. Have you ever had someone you just liked hanging out with because when you were around him or her you were maybe a little more at peace and the world seemed like a better place. Think of an example and share it with us.

Jesus wants us to be the healthy fig tree and the gardener. He wants us to be spiritually healthy and the person who people like hanging out with because we are a calm safe haven from the storm. Church families can be like that as well. We are here to nurture each other. We do that during the service and after it. We do it during bible study and evening prayer. We are there to listen and share. We are there to laugh and to cry. We nurture each others souls.


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