God Gives Us Second Chances
First Reading (Exodus 3. 1 – 8a, 13 – 15)
Second Reading (1 Corinthians 10. 1 – 6, 10-12)
Gospel (Luke 13.1 – 9)
A husband died ad he had left his wife with twenty thousand dollars. After the funeral the wife
told her friend that she is totally broke. The friend said, “What do you mean? Didn’t your
husband leave twenty thousand dollars for you?” The wife said, “Well, I spent five thousand for
his funeral, and fifteen thousand for a memorial stone.” The friend said, “Wow that was some
stone, How big was it?” The wife held up her finger, and said, “three and a half carat.”
A few years ago, “the Dallas Morning News’ carried a photo of some prisoners on a work-
release programme. They were restoring a condemned house on the city’s west side. Several
days late one of the prisoners wrote the editor saying: “Thank you for the coverage. The last
time my name and photograph were printed in a newspaper took place the day I was sentenced.
So it was a real joy to see picture in your paper doing something good. When I entered prison
18 months ago, I was a lot like the house we just remodeled. But God took charge of my life
and has made me a new creation in Christ.”
This is story is a very good illustration of today’s gospel. It says about a fig tree that did not
produce fruit and the owner’s intention to cut it down. The gardener begs the owner to give it a
second chance. What is in this story for me during this Lent?
The message is about God’s patient waiting. It is about how God gives us second chances. No
matter how often we fail, God always focuses on the good we could do, if we just made better
choices. God never gives up on us. He never condemns or rejects us. Redemption is God’s job.
It’s comforting to know that even with a l of our weaknesses an failures he will still work in us
to make us more fruitful. In fact, his compassion is one of the most effective fertilizers around.
It’s capable of feeding us and strengthening us. It has the power to lift us out of the pain an
setbacks we can experience in our lives and encourage us to take the next step towards a fruitful,
peaceful life. God is willing to give us a second, third or even fourth chance.
This brings us back to our opening story, both the prisoners and the house illustrate the point of
Jesus’ parable. Both were given a second chance. The house was condemned by the city. It
was scheduled to be torn down. ‘Let the prisoners work on it,” they said. “If they can make it a
useful property again, then we won’t tear it down.” The prisoner himself was also condemned.
He was considered unfit for society. He was put behind bars. Although society gave up on him,
God didn’t. God gave the prisoner a second chance. Like the gardener in today’s gospel, God
watered and cared for his spirit. The man responded and became a new creation.
All of us can relate to that story. At one point in our lives, many of us here were like the fig
tree, the house wand the prisoner. We were all given another chance when we were lost and
looking for direction. Needing a second chance can be very discouraging, but needing a second
chance and not realizing it will keep us lost. Look at this story.
Once upon a time a weary traveler was wandering down a dark and scary road. Suddenly, there
appeared before him a bright and marvelous castle with a welcome sign over the entrance.
Knowing he had reached rest and safety at last, the traveler felt glad. Approaching the open gate
he saw a strange sight. Other lost travelers were walking right past the castle as if it was not
there. He asked a castle resident about this strange behavior and heard this reply: “This is a
magic castle. Only those who realize and admit they have lost their way can see it. The castle
cannot appear to individuals who pretend to know where they are going, who demand their own
way. Your own honesty made the castle visible to you. Enter, for all its riches are now yours!”
Second chances always come to us through other people who believe in us. How many people’s
lives go unfruitful because of the lack of someone who believes in them and the second
chances? Is there a family member living under my roof who needs a second chance? How
many people we meet are struggling with all sorts of burdens: who needs an ear to listen, or a
shoulder to lean on? Shouldn’t I be a patient gardener? How can I cultivate, nourish, nurture,
and make others bear fruit? Am I determined to make the most of my second chance?
God invites us today to have the second chance to renew, to remake, to return and to revitalize
our lives. ‘Repent’ is the clarion call of Jesus to the entire humanity. Jesus tells us through the
parable of the fig tree that God’s eternal patience should not be taken lightly or taken for
granted. The silence of God while we perform evil deeds, is not a silent approval; rather, out of
mercy and love, God waits and hopes that we would return to him and bear solid fruits in future.
When Israelites were living under Egyptian slavery and oppression, God informs Moses to go
and tell them that he was ‘I am who I am.’ By this he asserts, ‘I am always loving, merciful
forever. I do not change. I will be as I am.’ Secondly, god sends an invitation to those of us
who are hard-hearted and unjust and who oppress the weak and the poor with the riches, power
and prosperity hoarded through unjust and crooked ways. He wants us to repent an commands
us to ‘et His people go’, as he ordered through Moses the king Pharaoh. God gave the king
many chances to repent and to change his heart of stone. Thirdly, there are many among us,
who are faithful to God and religion, being very careful not to commit any sin of injustice and
impurity. To them also, he commands to repent and return to start doing some good works of
leadership, witnessing and sharing as he desired his friend Moses to return to Egypt and lead his
people free from slavery despite hurdles, odds and problems he would face in that leadership.
Now, the question is, how to get back to the right road again, repent and return using the second
chance? God offers us two ways: 1. By remembering the past deeds of the Lord as God’s order
to Moses to make the Israelites remember him as the God of their fathers, of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob. Paul suggests the same in our Christian life to remember what God did to his people in
Egypt, on the Red Sea and at the desert. Added to them, Paul wants us to remember what Jesus
did for us in his life and till today. 2. Secondly, by remembering what the people in the past did
and how they were punished or blessed. Jesus in the Gospel points out to us what happened to
those Galileans at Siloam because their guilt reminds us that we are not in any way better in our
dealings in morality and justice. Perhaps we may be worse than those Galileans. Paul too
reminds us, how the Israelites behaved against God’s will and what punishment they underwent.
So whatever we witness in the lives of other people and in our own lives as blessings and curses
surely, become the real source of strength to repent and return as quick as possible to the Lord of
goodness and love.