Thursday, February 28, 2013

Before it's too late

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
March 3, 2013

Luke 13:1-9

It had been quite some time since Jesus had introduced himself in his hometown of Nazareth as a prophet sent by the Spirit of God proclaim the Good News to the poor. He keeps repeating his message tirelessly: God is near, opening the way to make a more humane world for all.

But he's realistic. Jesus knows well that God can't change the world unless we change. So he makes an effort to stir people to conversion: "Convert and believe this Good News". This endeavor of God to make a more humane world will be possible if we respond by accepting His plan.

Time goes by and Jesus sees that people aren't reacting to his call as he would wish. Many come to hear him, but they don't end up being open to the "Kingdom of God." Jesus is going to insist that it's urgent to change before it's too late.

On one occasion he tells a little parable. A landowner had planted a fig tree in his vineyard  Year after year, he comes to seek fruit from it and doesn't find any. His decision appears most sensible: the fig tree isn't producing fruit and is uselessly occupying land; the most reasonable thing is to cut it down.

But the manager of the vineyard reacts unexpectedly. Why not leave it yet? He knows that fig tree; he's seen it grow, has taken care of it, he doesn't want to see it die. He himself will devote more time and care to it to see if it bears fruit.

The story breaks off abruptly. The parable remains open. The owner of the vineyard and its manager disappear from the scene. It's the fig tree that will decide its final fate. Meanwhile, it will receive more care than ever from that gardener who reminds us of Jesus, "the one who has come to seek and to save what was lost."

What we need in the Church today isn't just to introduce small reforms, promote "aggiornamento" or taking care of the adaptation to our times. We need conversion at a deeper level, a "new heart", a responsible and decisive answer to Jesus' call to enter into the dynamic of the Kingdom of God.

We must react before it's too late. Jesus is alive among us. Like the manager of the vineyard, he cares for our Christian communities that are ever more fragile and vulnerable. He feeds us with his Gospel, sustaining us with his Spirit.

We have to look towards the future with hope while we are creating this new climate of conversion and renewal we need so much and that the decrees of Vatican II have not yet been able to solidify in the Church.

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