Speak Lord: The Judgement is Mercy…

Toppled Pillar
The Gospel on Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Lent, comes from the Gospel of Luke, and sets before us the matter of how does God, (and how do we), deal with those guilty of wrong-doing – or failing to do the good, for which we are ordered, for which we are made.

Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.

He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”’

Luke 13:1-9

The issue of do bad things only happen to bad people is considered by Jesus but he passes on to a parable which sets before us the gift of Mercy, of which he is witness and minister, and which is our hope.

Rather than a concern with the righteousness of others Jesus challenges all to consider how they respond to mercy this year, now.

Not a tower, and not at Siloam, but an earthquake-toppled pillar at Beth Shearim. Might have killed people! Earthquake damage. Beth Shearim, Israel. (c) 2007, Allen Morris
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