Listening to Jesus – A Reflection for the Third Sunday in Lent

By Sister Natalie DeLuca, MHSH

Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15
Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Luke 13:1-9 

“…I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but found none…”  –Luke 13:6

tree_barrenMany years ago, in my childhood, I remember following my father outside in our backyard.  With watchful eyes, he would survey the vegetable garden and the fig tree planted there.  With the care it received, the fig tree would reward my father and his family with a harvest of fruit in due time.  When summer faded, my father would safeguard the tree from Pennsylvania’s wintry blast.  With shovel in hand, my father would dig around the tree, wrap it in sacking and cover it with soil.  There it would rest until it was time to resurrect it back to the warm, bright light of spring.

Today’s scripture poses a possible case of neglect or indifference.  Jesus searches for the fruit of the laborer’s work, but there is none.  The scene provokes a possible connection to our own relationship with Christ.

figtreeWhat care do I give to my relationship with Jesus?  Is there quiet time?  Time for listening, rather than reciting prayers or a litany of requests?

Quiet time in Christ’s presence nourishes the heart.  What does your relationship need in order to deepen, to grow?  The distractions of the world often deafen us, making it hard to hear the call of Christ that will nourish us.

Picture yourself in the scene with Jesus and the gardener.  What do you see?

Dry fruit?  No fruit?

Listen to Jesus.  He comes in search of fruit.   What do you hear from Him?

 

A Time to Prepare – A Reflection for the Second Week of Advent

By Charlene Dunn*

When the Jesuit pioneers came to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay they met the Algonquin Indians and set about converting them.   The Jesuits successfully compiled a dictionary which translated English into Algonquin and back again. 

They found that the Algonquin had no word for “time.”  To them, time was a concept witnessed by natural events.  There were sunrises, full moons and winters.  The Indians’ lives were measured by creation itself—completely in tune—like one dance from beginning to end.  At some point the Indians were introduced to time as a measure, both finite and eternal. 

We experience the same dilemma with what we are taught in the Scriptures. Peter tells us that, to the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day. The Lord, however, is not confined as we are by the temporal. God is eternal while we are finite; we have a beginning and an end. God is immeasurable. We are measured. God is timeless. We are timed. God is limitless. We are limited. God invites us to share in eternal life.

To teach us how to cross into this timelessness, Jesus came among us for a finite wink of time.  Sadly, we were not there; but, Jesus will come to us again and we believe this because he told us so.  Humankind has been waiting for his return since his ascension into heaven nearly two thousand years ago.  When will he come?  He will come when we have prepared his way.

I believe that God loves us all, each and everyone the same.  Jesus teaches us that we must love one another as he has loved us.  More than ever, I believe that we are called upon to witness God’s love.  We begin by never questioning the depth of God’s love for us, because in that truth comes all the strength, wisdom and surrender necessary to be instrumental in hastening the second coming of Jesus. 

We must frequently remind ourselves that we are in the presence of God and that Christ is within us as we go about our daily mission.  And, we must recognize not only our faults, but also the acts of love we do to further God’s kingdom on earth.  Witnessing God’s love does not always come easy, so when we acknowledge to ourselves even small  successes, we learn to become better at it. 

Reflection:  What have I done today to prepare the way for Jesus to come again?

*Charlene Dunn is a long-time friend of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart.