3rd Sunday in Lent (C) 

At first glance I found the first part of the Gospel hard to relate to my own life. Then one of the commentaries I read suggested thinking about events I’ve seen or heard of where people had suffered tragedy, violence and bloodshed. That was, sadly, easy to do because there is so much of it – natural disasters as well as man-made ones. We have recently had the cyclone in Mozambique and the subsequent flooding. Of course, we also have disaster, violence and bloodshed in places like Syria and Iraq and the recent atrocity in New Zealand but there are also many violent deaths in and around the places where each of us live. People are dying daily, so many from knife crime, so that others can have their own way – regardless of the cost in terms of lives. 
I remember a few years ago being deeply affected by a documentary on television which centred on the plight of three children in different parts of Zimbabwe. All were fighting for survival and wanting what we take for granted: food, shelter, sanitation and education. It was heart-breaking – especially when it was put forward in the documentary that it had been as a direct result of the policies and ambitions of their then president. 
Like those in the first part of today’s Gospel they didn’t deserve it. We may ask ‘what can I, what can we do about it?’ Often we feel we can do nothing, apart from pray, but we have sometimes been able to do something by putting our hands in our pockets and helping financially. We may be asked to do something a little closer to home and that may involve our time – and that is probably harder for us. Maybe this Lent that is something we can look towards. 
The second part of the Gospel is a parable – it’s about, it seems to me, being given a second chance. We could, perhaps, be thinking of all those people we’ve given a second chance to – or even a third or fourth chance that might lead us to feeling a little resentful. Sometimes it is not easy and we feel like giving up. But what about our own second chances? Let us think back to when someone gave us another chance: to start again, to walk a different path, someone believed in us, in me. I know I can remember times and it’s not just that I’ve had a second or third chance with my health (which I have) – people have believed in me and I have grown as a person because of them. 
We do well today and during the week to remember those who have given us that chance and thank God for them. Maybe remembering our own lives will help us to give our own little fig trees another chance and a bit more love. 
Sr. Margaret Mattison 
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