Chance Encounters (Third Lent)

Jesus told them a story: “A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. He came to it expecting to find apples, but there weren’t any. He said to his gardener, ‘What’s going on here? For three years now I’ve come to this tree expecting apples and not one apple have I found. Chop it down! Why waste good ground with it any longer?’ The gardener said, ‘Let’s give it another year. I’ll dig around it and fertilise, and maybe it will produce next year; if it doesn’t, then chop it down’”. (Luke 13: 6 – 9)

Those ubiquitous Post-It notes you use every day – to make a page, write a quick note to yourself, or place on a co-worker’s desk – were a mistake. The 3M Company was trying to come up with a new kind of glue mixture and instead they created a glue that didn’t really stick. How absurd! Such blunder! … What a scathingly brilliant idea! You can almost hear the creators saying, “Just give us one more chance. We know his isn’t quite right. But maybe we can make it work”.

So, too, Jesus, as our advocate, says to God, just give this poor soul one more chance. Yes, there have been mistakes, but some good may come out of him or her yet.

Today’s gospel is about second chances. And we all need them – at our jobs, in our families, with our friends, with our communities. Who among us is without sin? Not one of us. So what distinguishes one sinner from another? Jesus tells us it’s the level of repentance.

Ask for the second, third, fourth chance you need to be productive and fruitful. Let people know you are trying. Seek help. Don’t succumb to despair. See your mistakes as golden opportunities to become that much better.

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