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March 14th 2004, Third Sunday in Lent Lk 13/1-9
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March 14th 2004

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Third Sunday in Lent Lk 13/1-9

Background:

  The parable of the fig tree as told today is one of Jesus’s familiar parables of urgency. Don’t waste your time. It is later than you think. Those whom Pilate killed thought they had more time. So did those people on whom the tower fell. So did those who died in the Oklahoma City bombing. So did those who were killed in that plane crash, flood, hurricane, earthquake. Seize the opportunity of the present while its there. Don’t put it off. Live fully, that is faithfully, while you can. It’s a familiar enough message and it makes a lot of sense, but still we try not to believe it, to pretend that it really isn’t later than we think. This Lent would be a good time to change our minds.

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  Once there was a couple who won a great prize, a two week trip to Ireland (or the destination of your choice). They had a whole year to make the trip. Well, said the wife, let’s not do it this summer, because we don’t want to interfere with our summer at the lake. And we can’t go in September because that’s when the kids go back to school. Then it came to be late October, before anyone knew it, and the husband said, well we can’t go over the holidays. That’s right, his wife agreed. Let’s wait till after the first of the year. However, someone told them that the days were terrible short in Ireland in January and February and besides the weather wasn’t very good (as thought it is predictably good any time!). So they said, well, let’s wait till spring when we know there’ll be good weather and we don’t have to worry about the snow closing airports in this country. So finally they made reservations for the first week in May. The weather was supposed to be good in Ireland and the days were long and it was the best time in the year to go (and if you believe there is any best time, you’ll believe that chickens have lips!). They admitted that they were cutting it close because their prize ran out on June 1, but they were sure nothing would go wrong. Then the husband had a gallbladder attack and required surgery. The doctors said he would be able to travel, oh, by the middle of June.

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The doctors said he would be able to travel, oh, by the middle of June
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