Saturday of the 29th Week of the Year

Luke 13:1-9

A Call to Repentance


But we can accommodate its meaning to ourselves.  Just like the tree, we have been “cultivated” and cared for by God.  We have received the grace of Baptism, we have received the Body of Christ in Holy Communion, perhaps we have received an exquisite Christian formation, the Holy Spirit comes to our life with his impulses for good.  How have we corresponded?  Have we yielded fruits of holiness and works of justice and charity?  Apostolate is not something optional.  It is an obligation for every Christian.  We must do apostolate and bear fruit.


Fruits of:

  1. You know how to be patient – paciencia
  2. You should show that you’re good – Magaling, Mabait, Mabuti
  3. Know how to affirm, appreciate and console

I still remember this scene from a famous telenovela. The senora was handed a beautifully-wrapped gift box by her muchacha. To the senora’s surprise the box contained a big piece of cow shit. The sender was a well known family enemy. In turn the senora ordered the maid to send her enemy a bouquet of fresh flowers. The accompanying note read: “One gives what one has.”

Today’s gospel relates to us about the unfruitful fig tree. God who is the vineyard owner, desires to find fruits from the fig tree after years of patient waiting. We are the fig trees from whom God expects to produce fruits. God does not appreciate unproductivity. If ever we are to produce fruit God wants us to bear good fruits – fruits that can heal, fruits that can unite, fruits that can cause joy and fruits that are life-giving.

  1. God, the vineyard owner, continually sends “vineyard caretakers” to protect us from elements that cause our unproductivity. Do I recognize them?
  2. How is my attitude towards others lately? Does my heart, mind and lips bloom with fruits of curses or blessings? Indifference or gratitude? (Fr. Ed Fugoso, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


The parable ends with the words of the gardener. It doesn’t say what happened at the end of the year, whether it yielded any fruit or it was cut down. What might that imply?  It means that you and me (not somebody else) are called and challenged to finish the parable of the fruitless fig tree.

Many true-to-life stories would find a similar situation as the parable of the fig tree. We can take the role of the gardener who has control and either cuts down a hopeless tree or graciously gives it an extended opportunity to grow and become fruitful. Should a wife for example give an unfaithful husband a chance to change? Should a convinced rapist go to the death row? Should a student caught cheating in class lose her scholarship?

Whatever it would be, the message of repentance, God’s compassion, tolerance and great patience is being given directly to us. The fact that we are still here, alive and generously given a new chance everyday to grow and bear fruit, we should not waste this time of grace. God desires for us s fruitful life. In the “holy manure,” we have an abundance of hope that will never be vanquished. (Sr. Elaine Faith Taneo, SSpS Bible Diary 2005)


A King summoned the court jester, gave him a walking stick and said: ‘Give this staff to anyone you find who is a greater fool than you are.”

One day, the King lay down dying and he complained, “I’m going to a foreign country and I’m never coming back.”

The court jester told him, “King, you know rightly well that one day you would be going to that strange land. I’m sure that you must have done everything to make sure that you would have a house to move into there.”

The King admitted that he had not done this, so the jester passed the walking stick to the King and said, “It belongs to you. You are a bigger fool than I am.”

Fool is he/she who keeps on believing that death will come later in life. Repentance is a call for everyone, right now. Delaying to repent is a luscious temptation: “Have you fling now and convert later. No hurry. Take your time.” This is the slogan straight from the hell network.

Let’s make our life meaningful. Why settle for less? If we are called to live with God, to share his divinity, there must be something in us which is very special. We are loved by God. We are special. God does not lie for he is the God of truth. God’s love is the God of truth. God’s love is overwhelming, that is enough reason to trust, believe and to love Him more. Let’s cling to Him. (Fr. Alex Virtualla, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 which has caused great devastation to Zambales where it is located and neighboring Pampanga was considered by some people as part of God’s wrath over two “cities of sin” situated within those provinces.

Like the people in the gospel, we are tempted to say that the victims of destructive calamities were punished for their sins. But Jesus warns us that it is not for us to judge people and their sins. No one but God really knows what is in the human heart. Jesus’ warning is followed by a parable about a fig tree. The owner of the tree when he found out that it had not borne fruits after three years,, gave the three one more chance, allowing the gardener to cultivate and fertilizer it one more time. The parable conveys that God is very patient with us.

Theirs is a story of a man living in a hurricane-prone suburb of Florida.  He went to a department store downtown and bought a fine barometer. Delighted with his acquisition, he hurried home and proudly hung it on his living room wall. But what he saw made him very angry: the barometer reading indicated, “Hurricane!”

Convinced that he had been sold a defective instrument, he walked back to the department store, handed the barometer to the sales clerk and snorted, “Hey, what’s this barometer you sold me. I put it up in my house and what do you supposed it registered? Hurricane!” to which the sales clerk replied, “But what I sold you was a brand new!” “No! I don’t like this instrument,” he said angrily, “I want a replacement.” “No problem,” the store owner said. “I’ll replace it in a minute.” The man headed for home with his new barometer, but when he arrived there, his house had been blown away!

Instead of covering up our faults or blaming others for something, let us face the truth about ourselves and make the necessary step to reform. (Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


October 22, 2016 Saturday

Give yourself a grace period”, this was the advice of our retreat master Fr. Arlo Yap, SVD, to those who were thinking of leaving the seminary formation. It was in 1998 in a retreat before we graduated from Philosophy. I was about to leave the seminary that time. But I listened to that advice. I gave myself a “grace period”. And I received the wonderful grace of priesthood later on.

“Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future…” pleaded the gardener in today’s gospel. The gardener begged for a “grace period”. I was not the only one who gave myself “grace period” in my seminary years. Many of my formators also gave me several chances, several “grace periods” for me to change for the better. I would not have become an SVD without those “grace periods”.

We too are called to be more patient with ourselves and with other people. We are called to give people another chance to change for the better, a “grace period”. (Fr. Ruper Solis, SVD Christ the King Seminary, QC Bible Diary 2016)


Romans 8:1-11
Psalm 24:1b-2, 3-4ab, 5-6
Luke 13:1-9
Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

One of the lists that Tom & I used to banter around after football or basketball practice respectively were “God’s mistakes.” (A bit of explanation here: as a Theology-History double major & English-Philosophy double major, this was an inevitable list for the two of us.) Aside from the fact that it might be heretical to consider something like this (and briefly leaving off obvious things like avocado pits and platypuses), we would most often come back to St. Paul.

I was convinced that Paul was the victim of a celestial mob hit gone wrong. That, in fact, he was not supposed to have been converted, but to have been—like one of my Old Testament heroes Absolom—done in on that road for his persecution of the early Christian church. How else could you explain all the schisms which had resulted simply from the readings of his letters? Or, as I would frequently argue in my coup de grace, how else could you explain the difference between the renunciation of the flesh in the letters to the Romans and the embracing of flesh and spirit in Jesus of Nazareth’s sacrifice.

Well, karma is a funny thing.

As we volunteer to write the Daily Reflections, we offer dates and take what comes. When I saw that I was to reflect upon the very message that years ago would end early morning conversations and still, to this day, stymies me, I thought: so this is my test?…Why won’t this go away!

During a late October lightening storm the other evening, I was reflecting again on this question—how Paul could state so categorically to leave the flesh behind in favor of the spirit within. When I looked at the trees in Dundee blowing in the unexpected storm, that’s when I really heard the parable from Luke in today’s work.

Anyone who works in gardens knows that there are no easy, quick answers. Five years isn’t too long to wait for a wild rose bush to decide about what it’s going to do. Each spring as people buy their annuals in local shops, there’s something ironic about the fact that they’re buying plants with a year’s lifespan based upon how many months those same plants have already grown towards their end. The most impatient among us buy the annuals closest to death.

Things that make sense take time. We won’t understand them right away and maybe as Luke 13 states, we don’t understand the timetable that they’re on. The fig tree has not born fruit for three years, the person complains. So wait another year. At the same time, don’t be complacent. Cultivate, fertilize, and till the soil. But don’t expect things of the greatest importance to run on your schedule.

I don’t think God keeps lists. And I don’t think that as clever as we think we are, we’ll understand all that we want to. I don’t understand Paul, or what people throughout history have done with his message. I understand his love of the word and his passion. But the rest, that’s ground that I’ll continue to water and watch while I keep lists that God probably doesn’t pay much attention to.


OUR SINS PUNISH US: The Lord said: “If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did.” These are strong frightening words! “If you do not repent, you will all perish.” First, let us understand repentance. A very basic truth is that love of God for us does not come as a fruit of repentance. What do I mean by this? God loves us not because we repent of our sins. God loves us because He wants to love us, repentance, rather, is a fruit of an experienced of having been loved by God. So it is not repentance that produces love from God. Rather, it is our experience of the love of God that produces repentance. I’ll say it again. Repentance does not lead us to experience God’s love. Rather, we experience God’s love first and in having experienced it, we repent of our sins.

The second to remember is that it is not so much that we are being punished for our sins. It is more than we are being punished by our sins. God does not even have to punish us. When we do something wrong, that sin will boomerang us. God does not even have to punish us. The sin itself becomes our punishment. When we do something wrong, there is trouble in our hearts, there is no peace. When we do something wrong, we feel guilty. God does not cause that. That is caused by the sin that we committed. We bring it upon ourselves. So the Lord is saying, “If you do not repent you will all perish but you will perish not because of me. You will perish because you have killed yourself. You are going to die, not because I will kill you. You are going to die because you have called it upon yourself.”

God does not have to do much. We are digging our own graves and we are preparing for our own funerals. The Lord warns us today, “If you do not repent, you are digging your own graves. You are working on your own funeral. And I do not even have to touch you because you will explode by yourself.” Bp. Soc Villegas Love Like Jesus p. 22)


WORD TODAY (Rom 8:1-11; Lk 13:1-9): We always hear tragic news of calamities killing hundreds of people. Records show 155,000 people die each day around the world. Each of them reached their appointed time and sometimes a group of them die near each other.

Today’s gospel pictures God as the owner of a garden which He inspects for fruits. He sees a tree that was fruitless for three years. He wants it cut down to make room for more fruitful ones, but His gardener asks for one more year to fertilize and give it special care.

We’ll never know how many times God has inspected and found us fruitless. But the fact that we breathe today is proof of Christ’s loving care, praying for us and extending our appointed time. Two people die each second. Who’s next? Let’s be ready!

CATECHISM A Day: Luke 13:9, “Sir, leave it for this year also and I’ll cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future.

Sacraments (CCC 1131)

The Sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the Sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each Sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions (Fr. Iko Bajos Oct 26 2013).


Thursday, October 22, 2015

SATURDAY OF THE 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 13:1-9. UNSA MAY GILAOMAN SA DIOS GIKAN KANATO NING KALIBOTAN? Ang sambingay sa Kahoy’ng Igera nagtudlo nga ang Dios, nga maoy tag-iya sa parasan, gusto nga kita mamunga’g daghang kaayohan. Ang Dios masubo kon kita dili magmabungahon, kon kita dili makahimo’g maayo sa katilingban,o kon kita dili makapaambit sa Iyang gugma ngadto sa uban. Kon kita walay mahimong kaayohan, angay na kitang wagtangon, sama sa kahoy nga angay nang putlon. Pero, si Hesus, nga maoy atong Tig-amoma, puno sa kalooy ug pasensya kanato. Gidasig niya kita karon sa pagbiya sa daotang binuhatan ug pagsugod og bag-ong kinabuhi. Matud pa, “We bear fruit when the characteristics of Jesus are evident in our life.” Busa, puy-an nato ang mga hiyas ni Kristo aron kita makapamunga og maayo. Abet Uy (2015.`0.24)


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Reflection for October 24, Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 13:1-9

Reflection: Why is there a need for us to repent now? The simple answer is we are all sinners; we sin almost every day through ours words, actions and thoughts. Life is dynamic and we may not know what may happen to us the next minutes or seconds of our life. Let us not delay from repenting the sooner the better for us.

What if we suddenly die and we are not able to repent for the reason that we keep on delaying our repentance? We miss the golden opportunity to be with Jesus in heaven and we have nobody to blame but us.

Repentance frees us from the burden of sin and guilt. It frees our soul and it opens the door of God’s blessings for us. What if we refuse to repent and instead continue on sinning? We then have to be prepared for the consequence/s of our stubbornness and sinfulness.

In the church complete repentance occurs once we decide to humbly submit ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Reconciliation. Here we humbly submit to the will of God, here we allow God to heal us from the wounds of sin. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


WAKE UP CALL“But if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” – Luke 13:5

Two compelling videos made the rounds in Facebook immediately after super typhoon Yolanda. One was about a 2010 prophecy by Sadhu Selvaraj titled, “Warning, Punishment and Judgment for the Philippines If the Country Does Not Return to God.” The second tied up the Bohol earthquake and typhoon Yolanda to the prophecies declared at the April 2013 National Prayer Gathering at the Cuneta Astrodome. It further warned that a deadly disease causing the body to rot would originate from Pangasinan.

These videos talking about God’s anger for the wicked ways of the land and the call for repentance initially scared me. Did God single out the Philippines to destroy? But come to think of it, we have always been reminded since St. John the Baptist’s time to remain faithful to God’s Word, turn away from our evil, and repent. Do we need calamities, tragedies or videos of modern-day prophecies for a wake-up call?

God is merciful and not vindictive. But this should not push us to complacency where we become another Sodom and Gomorrah ripe enough to be destroyed. Marie Franco (

Reflection: God allows difficulties in His children’s lives so that they may trust Him further and bring them closer to Him.

Father God, send Your guardian angels and the Holy Spirit so that we shall always be guided in our ways and be faithful to You.


October 24, 2015

Saturday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time

Rom 8:1-11, Lk 13:1-9

God never gives up on his children!

St Paul continues his discourse on the two laws between which we have to make a choice. Then he makes a solemn declaration, “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death.” On the basis of this passage there are naive Christians who live in fool’s paradise cocksure that they are saved at the moment they got baptized. But that is not what St Paul meant. He makes his point very clear in the following words, “Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Without having the Spirit of Christ if somebody claims that he or she is saved, it is mere illusion and folly. What St Paul asks his readers is not to make a onetime choice but to make an all-time choice. It is a total transformation or Christification that Paul is suggesting.

In the Gospel Jesus presents a gardener who refuses to give up on a fig tree that he planted and tenderly took care of. But year after year it refused to bear fruits. The owner of the orchard got fed up and suggested the gardener to cut down that tenacious fig tree and burn it since it failed to produce fruits for three years consecutively in spite of all the attention and care given to it. However, the gardener was not ready to give up on his baby. He interceded on its behalf. He had in his mind a treatment process specially designed for it. He pleaded with the owner saying, “Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.” Please take note of the last sentence. The gardener is not saying that “I shall cut it down”, instead he says, “You can cut it down.” Moreover, he is not blaming the fig tree. He believes it could be the fault of the soil or the absence of proper fertilizer that cause of the trouble. He was ready to do anything possible to see his baby finally succeed. Here we see the motherly heart of God, our gardener, who can never give up on his baby even after repeated failures. How fortunate are we to have a motherly God, with a tender loving heart, who can never give up on his children! Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI


October 22, 2016 

In 2013 in the Philippines two major events happened toward the end of the year. One was the Janet Lim-Napoles political scandal involving dozens of high-ranking officials who had conspired in a gigantic scam to embezzle the tax-payers’ money. The other event was the Super Typhoon Yolanda, which caused the death of more than 7,000 people.

Now some Christians connected these two separate events and said that the typhoon was sent by God as a punishment for the political scandal.

Well, today’s gospel reading should prove that such reasoning is pure nonsense. For in the case of the massacre of the Galileans in the temple and of the accidental death of 18 people due to a falling tower, Jesus forcefully argues that none of those victims deserved to die. And certainly no divine punishment was meted out because of someone else’s sins. What kind of justice would that be—killing the innocent in retaliation for the guilty?

No, things happen at random. Let us stop attributing to God actions which only a moral monster would perpetrate. As Jesus tells us, “the Father judges no one” (Jn 5:22). If he does not judge, how could he punish?



See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Saturday of the 29th Week of the Year

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