In this digital world, it is so easy to share reports of disasters, complete with photos. Life can seem so cheap in case of killings, and so precarious in case of accidents. In the Gospel, some people tell Jesus that Pilate had some Galilean pilgrims massacred for causing tumult in the Jerusalem Temple, and that 18 people were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them.
Jesus says that these unfortunate people are not worse sinners than others. Death does not make a distinction between the good and the bad. It may come to anyone at any moment. But while Jesus does not judge those who fell victim to man’s cruelty, he uses the incident to make a call for repentance. He tells the living that procrastinating about their conversion may earn for them a worse fate: judgment in God’s hands.
GOSPEL • Lk 13:1-9
Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “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! Or those 18people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’ ”