This reflection on Luke 13:1-9 is for the Third Sunday of Lent.

I almost did a double take reading today’s Gospel. You see, something doesn’t quite add up–at least on first reading. And I’m not talking about the parable of the fig tree–that one is pretty clear, its meaning self-evident and its message quite consoling. Put simply: If we don’t get our act together, we will perish. But God is the gardener who gives us an undeserved second chance and a much-welcomed reprieve.


Neat, simple, and reassuring enough for us to get back to business as usual, right? The problem, however, is what comes before that. What our Lord says before the parable is not quite as neat and simple–and certainly not as consoling!