The Lord God Is Merciful (See Lk 13:1-9)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The parable in this Sunday’s Gospel obviously tells us how patient and merciful the Lord God is. Faced with the tree full of leaves but without fruit, people often think of cutting down that useless product. Naturally we also feel frustrated when obtaining no success after having invested too much money or effort in some project. We even want to punish someone for not meeting our demand, hope, trust and expectations which we have put in them.
All of the abovementioned thoughts and deeds can be seen as results of a proper exercise of the principle of justice, commonly accepted by everybody.
In society, employers get mad at the workers who fail to produce maximal profits for the companies and are more than willing to fire them on the ground of “business is business.”
In class-rooms, teachers lose their patience when confronting the students who show no bright accomplishment.
In families, spouses fall weary and disappointed with one another’s weaknesses, vices and mistakes, and, finding it hard to forgive, are almost ready for a legal solution. Parents and children respectively are unable to listen to one another, to understand one another and to give one another a chance for renewing their relationship.
People of our present days are too proud of their achievements in the fields of economy, sciences and technology that they get hurt when committing any wrongdoing and cannot accept as a reality their failures. They try hiding their impatience and shortage of compassion in dealing with both people and problems. They are afraid of even saying “sorry” considering that tantamount to humiliating themselves. Hateful and destructive reactions to others and sometimes desperate attempt on their own lives are all that they have recourse to as though there were no better ways to overcome difficulties.
The Gospel message for this Sunday of Lent brings us strong hope in the divine merciful love of God the Father Who is always kind in desiring salvation for all of us sinners and patient in waiting for us His disobedient children to go home.
When He says, “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”, He is really buying time for us sinners, giving us more chance to repent and so deserve salvation. His “this year” in reality means “endless year” just because His mercy is without end and His love eternal.
This season of Lent by God’s merciful love coincides with the 2016 Jubilee Year of Divine Mercy of which the logo reads “Misericordes sicut Pater”, a phrase in Latin means “Merciful as God the Father”. We are encouraged, on the one hand, to always nourish an unfailing hope in God’s mercy, regardless of how grave our sins may be, strongly being sure that God would wait for our last decision to go back to Him. We are also taught, on the other, to show understanding, patience, compassion, forgiveness and charity to our neighbor no matter who they are, friends or foes, and who even violently resist our offer of reconciliation.
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.