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October 22, 2022

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Gospel: Luke 13:1-9
One day, some people told Jesus what had occurred in the temple: Pilate had had
Galileans killed, and their blood mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus
asked them,

“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they
suffered this? No, I tell you. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish, as they did.

And those eighteen persons in Siloah, who were crushed when the tower fell, do you think
they were more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? I tell you: no. But unless you change
your ways, you will all perish, as they did.”

And Jesus continued, “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he came looking for
fruit on it, but found none. Then he said to the gardener, ‘Look here, for three years now I have
been looking for figs on this tree, and I have found none. Cut it down, why should it continue to
deplete the soil?’ The gardener replied, ‘Leave it one more year, so that I may dig around it and
add some fertilizer; perhaps it will bear fruit from now on. But if it doesn’t, you can cut it down.’”


Jesus cautions his listeners about the dangers of splitting people into mutually exclusive
categories of good and bad. Neither the Galileans killed by Pilate nor the eighteen crushed under
the tower in Siloah were worse or more sinful than anybody else. None of us is totally bad or totally
good; we are all shades of grey, with varying degrees of goodness and badness in us. Unfortunately,
we still practice this primitive splitting in our interactions with people. It is easier to navigate a
world where we can clearly label people, be they our neighbors or political leaders. However, Jesus
invites us to don the gospel glasses and look at the positive potential in people who may currently be
either nonproductive or counterproductive – like the gardener in the parable who positively sees the
potential of the currently unproductive fig tree and is willing to risk giving it yet another opportunity
and to work towards helping the tree realize the potential.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2022

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