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Reflections on the Daily Readings
from the Perspective of Creighton Students

October 26th, 2013
Maria Benevento

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The gospel reading for today is not very familiar for me, and I wonder if that is partially because its message is not easy to face.  Jesus says of the deaths of some Galileans:

Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did

At first, it seems that Jesus is simply making threats (“repent or you’ll be killed like those Galileans!”), yet the way he emphasizes that the dead Galileans were not unusually guilty also makes it sound like he is criticizing the idea that when people suffer or die they are being punished for sins.  Maybe when Jesus says, “if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did,” the comparison is not that you will both be dead, but that you will both be unrepentant when you die. 

As uncomfortable as it is to recognize, everyone, repentant or not, will inevitably die, perhaps at an unpredictable time, but not everyone will die without “bearing fruit.”  Some of us are like the fig tree in the second half of the gospel that is being given another year to produce figs before it is cut down—we have potential, but haven’t yet used it.

It is easy for me to imagine that at some point in the future, maybe when I graduate, or find my vocation, or meet the right person, or have an epiphany, I will start being a really good person.  Not just someone who vaguely wants to be a good person, but someone who actually lives the way I believe people should live.  I look at the lives of saints who were mediocre or even very sinful people and then had a change of heart and think that when the time is right I’ll do the same.  But there have probably been plenty of people who could have been saints, but never found the right time that they were waiting for.

Most of us won’t be crushed by falling towers tomorrow, so I’m not saying that we should be paranoid, but if we keep putting off becoming the kind of people we hope to eventually be, someday it will be too late.  Probably we aren’t completely ready now—there are things we need to learn, people we need to meet, experiences we need to have—but we don’t have to fulfill our entire potential today—we just have to start trying, and with God’s help we can bear fruit.

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