One more year

The insistent message is, ‘change your way of thinking’. It comes in the earliest verses of the earliest gospel.

God has intervened in human history to help us make that extra step that goes beyond our technology. We have always thought, or at least we have always acted, as though we are in control of this world, this planet of ours. We have pushed out the boundaries OF science and are, even now, exploring deep into the universe.

Then, all of a sudden eighteen people are killed when the tower of Siloam collapsed. Or eighteen thousand – who knows the number – are killed in a war in Europe between two countries that have been Christian for a thousand years. Technically we have advanced, but has our heart kept up with our head? ‘Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate.’ Can we hear these words?

What a struggle it is for us! We read today of how Moses was interrupted in his calm life as a shepherd and told to ‘do something about the miserable state of my people.’ Moses is astonished. ‘Am I to go to Pharoah and tell him to let your people go?’ God strengthens him and reveals his name, ‘I am who am’. I am the source and life of all being. Believe and act.

And Moses acts; but in spite of this ‘most of them failed to please God’, Paul tells us. They could not ‘change their way of thinking’. They could not listen to their heart. No wonder Jesus got weary of his followers at times. ‘How much longer must I be with you?’ I sometimes think old age is a great blessing. At last, we have time to really get in touch with what is deepest within us. But why do we take so long?

Jesus tells a parable about a fig tree. The owner got tired of coming and looking for fruit and wanted to cut it down. But the one who look after the fig tree in the vineyard, pleaded. ‘Leave it for one more year.’ One more year! How we love procrastinating! Maybe next year, I will get round to it. Right now I am too busy with my plans, my work, my relationships – the way I do things now, the way I am used to.

Lent is that persistent knock on the door. Jesus is calling us to stretch out beyond what we are used to, beyond what we are comfortable with.

20 March 2022           Lent Sunday 3C          Exod 3: 1…15 1 Cor 10:1…12           Lk 13:1-9


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