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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Will The Catholic Please Stand Up?

A Reflection on the Gospel reading for Sunday, March 3, 2013

Posted by: Larry T

This Sunday we find Our Lord responding to questions concerning the slaughter of a number of Galileans by order of Pontus Pilate.
1 At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
2 He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
3 By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!
4 Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them —do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
5 By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”
6 And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
7 he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. (So) cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’
8 He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
9 it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”
– Luke 13:1-9 NAB

In the parable of the fig tree Jesus teaches us about responsibility and hope. Allegorically who planted the tree? God. Who does the fig tree represent? Me. Who is the gardener? Jesus. Do I have a responsibility to bear fruit? Yes!  

Are my branches withered, lifeless, and useful only for firewood or are they fully leafed and sagging under the weight of figs? I think I have both types of branches. How many ways are there for a Catholic to bear fruit? The list seems endless, but one sure way is to live my faith. 

When we see a man wearing a yarmulke (skull cap), we know that he is of the Jewish faith. If we see a woman clad in a full length burqa, we know that she is Muslim. A Pennsylvania farmer plowing a field with a team of horses is probably Amish Mennonite. But how can you recognize a Catholic when you see one? On Ash Wednesday when we see someone with an ash cross on their forehead are they Catholic? Not necessarily. Is a professional football player making the sign of the cross in jubilant celebration of a touchdown Catholic? Maybe. When we see a family in a restaurant making the sign of the cross and praying for God’s blessing, we know that they are Catholics. 

We distinguish ourselves by living our faith and by following Church doctrine. When we hear a fellow Catholic say, “we don’t know when life begins,” we know they are ignoring the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.
– CCC 2270

To support same-sex marriage is the say that Holy Scripture is outdated and superfluous. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: 

God himself is the author of marriage. The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator – CCC 1603

If one of our acquaintances said, “I’ve never heard him use profanity.” And another of our associates said, “He’s a Catholic –they never curse or use profanity!” How great would that be? If a colleague said, “She doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage or abortion.” And another one of our friends said, “She’s a Catholic - they don’t believe in either of those things!” Would our Lord’s face crease in a smile?

The Lenten season is an opportunity to examine my life, and recognize that even if I haven’t borne fruit to my potential yet, I still have time to do so. That is the message of hope that is in this gospel reading. But God doesn’t yell directions to His people; He speaks in whispers.

11 Then the LORD said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
12 After the earthquake there was fire—but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
13 When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?”
- 1 Kings 19:11-13 (N.A.B.)

I have to turn off the television; I have to remove the iPod earphones from my ears; I have to power down the computer; I have to listen intently in silence, otherwise I will never be able to hear Him.


  1. Really good reflection Larry!! Thanks!

  2. Well done, Larry.
    Becoming an "intentional" Catholic disciple is much more than just having a membership card, as you point out so well with your illustrations.
    -Blessings, Paul


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