October 23, 2021
Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 24 in which the psalmist expresses the heart’s deep longing for God:
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?Psalm 24: 5-6
or who may stand in that holy place?
The one whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
Who shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God the savior.
Such is the race that seeks for God,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
But achieving those sinless hands and clean heart is not always an easy task. It takes a life focused on faith and rooted in love.
Jesus talks about that focus in today’s Gospel.
Jesus gives us a parable which, at first, appears to say, “Get your act together fast, or God might zap you.” From Jesus’s words, we can assume that some public disasters have recently occurred. Those in the gathered crowd are unnerved by these events.
Jesus uses that nervousness to talk about repentance. He tells the people that tragedy can make us wake up to the fact that life is fragile and fleeting. That awareness should make us want to use our time on earth well, to give glory to God.
The repentance Jesus encourages is not just a contrition, or turning from sin. It is an opening of the soul’s eyes to see our lives and circumstances as God sees them.
Is God going to zap us if we don’t have that kind of repentance? No, I think not.
With the parable of the fruitless fig tree, Jesus assures us that God is with us, giving us every grace and opportunity to bear spiritual fruit. God is patient and nurturing. But, in every human life, there is a limit to the time we have to respond.
Poetry: The Facts of Life – Pádraig Ó Tuama
That you were born
and you will die.
That you will sometimes love enough
and sometimes not.
That you will lie
if only to yourself.
That you will get tired.
That you will learn most from the situations
you did not choose.
That there will be some things that move you
more than you can say.
That you will live
that you must be loved.
That you will avoid questions most urgently in need of
That you began as the fusion of a sperm and an egg
of two people who once were strangers
and may well still be.
That life isn’t fair.
That life is sometimes good
and sometimes better than good.
That life is often not so good.
That life is real
and if you can survive it, well,
survive it well
and meaning given
where meaning’s scarce.
That you will learn to live with regret.
That you will learn to live with respect.
That the structures that constrict you
may not be permanently constricting.
That you will probably be okay.
That you must accept change
before you die
but you will die anyway.
So you might as well live
and you might as well love.
You might as well love.
You might as well love.
Music: Calm the Soul – Poor Clares Galway