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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

UNLESS YOU REPENT YOU WILL PERISH (Luke 13:1-9)

Jesus was told of the Galileans who started a mob to have Pilate removed. They failed in their efforts and Pilate had them executed. Jesus added the story of the eighteen who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them.

Christ showed them that the Galileans were wrong in trying to depose Pilate. This was sedition. "Unless you cease to conspire against your rulers for which you will never have Divine guidance ye shall perish." God does not want us to conspire to remove our rulers whether they are heads of state, bishops or parish priests. Such effort to depose any ruler will never receive Divine guidance and will be punished by God.

God allowed the death of the Galileans so that we may not imitate them. They were punished by God for their sins because they disobeyed God's command though they assumed religious grounds as their reason for deposing Pilate. But the true reason was they simply did not like him.

Christ states that these Galileans sinned in trying to depose their ruler. They were sinners. But it does not mean that we are better than they. And the eighteen others on whom the wall fell were sinners. But we are not better than they.

Christ then describes the fig tree, a tree that has abundant leaves and seems to have much fruit. But this fig tree had no fruit. This represents Christians who magnify themselves with many words and useless acts of piety and religiosity but truly have no fruits. Christ threatened to chop the fig tree down. Bu the husbandman pleaded with him not to cut it down; he promised to dig around the tree and apply dung as fertilizer. The husbandman are bishops and priests whose primary duty is to mediate between God and man, constantly pleading to God not to chop down Christians that bear no fruits. They should spend their time talking and pleading to God in prayer and talk only to men to teach them the commands of Christ, like not to depose their rulers. And Christ will only relent if the bishop or priest promises to dig around the Christian soul and apply dung.

What is to dig? To give Christians a disciplined way of life. Chrysostom describes this as living a monastic life in the world. And to apply dung is to give the Christian soul ample opportunities for humility. All monastic rules are opportunities for prayer, fasting and good works, which leads to humility. 

We Christians are fig trees. Most of us are all leaves but no fruits. Our priests and bishops are commanded to plead that we may not be uprooted. But for Christ to listen to them, they must promise to dig around our souls and apply dung. If, in spite of all these, we still bear no fruits, both we and our pastors will answer to God. And, like the Galileans and the eighteen, we shall perish because we have become worst sinners. 

 

 

 

 

(updated 08-08-02)

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