There is a story of how King Frederick II, an Eighteenth-Century King of Prussia, was visiting a prison in Berlin. He was going from inmate to inmate, and every one of them was trying to prove how they had been unjustly imprisoned. They all proclaimed their innocence, except one. That one prisoner was sitting quietly in a corner, while all the rest protested their innocence. Seeing him sitting there oblivious to everything else that was going on, the King walked over to him and said, "Son, why are you in here?" He said, "Armed robbery, your Honor," The King said, "Are you guilty?" He said, "Sire, I am guilty, and I deserve to be here." The King then gave an order to the guard and said, "Release this guilty man, I do not want this man corrupting all these other innocent people."
This weekend in a way all of the reading talks about exodus. The first reading tells us how God shows His mercy to His chosen people by selecting Moses as their leader and liberator. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob reveals Himself to Moses from the burning bush and assures Moses of His divine presence with His people and of His awareness of their sufferings in Egypt. God prepares Moses for the exodus, Israelites liberation from slavery to freedom.
In the second reading Paul retelling the exodus story. He said, our ancestors walked through the sea, they ate spiritual food, drank spiritual drink, but in most of them God does not pleased. They were given so much, but they threw it away.
In today’s Gospel, citing two tragic events, Jesus exhorts the Jews to repent and reform their lives. Eighteen people were killed when a tower in Siloam fell on them. A large number of people from Galilee, we don’t know how many, were killed by Pilate’s soldiers during a temple service. All had plans for their lives. All of their lives came to a sudden end with their plans unfulfilled.
Jesus told them those people faced these tragedies not because they were worse than others. Jesus uses two local tragedies to teach them and now us about our need for repentance and a renewal of life. The farmer has a fig tree and it didn’t give any fruit for three years. Jesus was going to cut it down, but the gardener convinced him to give one more year. If at the end of another year, it still hasn’t accomplished its purpose, then it will be cut down.
Today, during this lent, Jesus reminds us to look at our life. He gave everything for Israelites in their journey from slavery to freedom. Jesus, through his new exodus, passion death and resurrection, he gave himself for our journey to freedom. He gave us scripture, gave us sacraments, especially Eucharist. He has given us lot, but are we ready to receive. The burning bush was bursting with fruit of Divine presence. On the other hand, the fig tree in full is barren. Which one of the tree we want to be. Our God is a merciful God who always invites to receive his mercy. He wants us to become the burning bush, and burst with fruits of Divine presence. During this lent, let us grow in our relationship with God and help one another in this journey.