October 27, 2018
by Diane Jorgensen
Creighton University School of Pharmacy
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 478

Ephesians 4:7-16
Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5
Luke 13:1-9

Praying Ordinary Time

Today’s gospel addresses questions for which people and cultures throughout history have sought answers. “Why do some people lose their lives in natural disasters and human destruction, while others are spared? Surely it is because they are being punished for their evil ways?”

Jesus tells the crowd that the Galileans who died under Pilate or those who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell were no greater sinners than those who survived. Rather, consider these events as a wake-up call!

Recent natural disasters - hurricanes, fires, floods, a tsunami - have caused so many deaths. We lost a student recently in a tragic car accident when her car hit a small boulder in the road. Loved ones understandably howl “Why? Why them? Why her?” in their deep sorrow and grief. For all of us, these, too, are wake-up calls.

The parable seems to point to the limitless patience and mercy of our God. If Jesus had continued the parable, it is easy to imagine that the gardener would have asked the same of the orchard owner on the fourth year, and the fifth, and so on. But “why should it exhaust the soil?” raises the question of limited resources. Perhaps the call to repentance is not so much in fear of punishment from an angry god but rather a wake-up call to realize the limits of life. Our planet’s resources, our time and energy, our relationships, our workplaces, our very lives...all are fragile and have limited capacities.

The first reading refocuses our attention in the face of these limits. God has gifted and graced each of us, that we may contribute to the building up of the Body of Christ, building itself up in truth and love.

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