The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C - 7th of March 2010

There are many ways of thinking about repentance.  We can look at it as a disciplne, as a restoration of a relationship, as an expression of being contrite or even as a matter of justice.  Whatever point of view you take it should remain clear that repentance is really about the person.

Our acts cannot influence God and therefore, our repentance will not change God.  God loves us - that does not come in half measures.  Just like the fig tree in today's gospel passage, God continues to try to find ways to get through to us.  Just like the fig tree, we often don't render the fruit that we are potentially able to.  God's aim is not to punish us but to encourage us.

We tend to see justice in terms of reward and punishment and yet we know that life is not generally this straightforward.  God's justice is another aspect of love that constitutes God's very essence.  It is not the justice that seeks the guilty but rather the justice that seeks to establish a situation in which positivity, trust, tolerance and respect can blossom.  This is always going to be incomplete since we are, as we all know, imperfect and inconsistent.  Nonetheless, this is what God invites us to.

Repentance is about our willingness to accept this invitation.  It is about growth, not punishment.  We are invited to render fruit that is consistent with all that we know is good, true and beautiful.  If we are negligent in striving for this we remain stunted and sterile, like the fig tree.  If we allow God's invitation to penetrate into our lives we are transformed and our fruits will begin to express the potential with which we have each been gifted.

Article posted on 6th of March 2010

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