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When misfortune strikes people considered to be sinners, others might say: They had it coming! God is punishing them! Today’s Gospel explains how God disciplines His people, invites them to repent of their sins, to renew their lives, and to produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Citing two tragic events, Jesus exhorts the Jews to repent and reform their lives. With the parable of the barren fig tree, Jesus also warns them that the merciful God will not put up with them indefinitely. Although God patiently waits for sinners to repent, giving them grace to do so, He will not wait forever. Time may run out; therefore, timely repentance is necessary. Hence, one can say, “A Lent missed is a year lost from the spiritual life.”

Let us turn to Christ, acknowledge our faults and failings and receive from him mercy, forgiveness and the promise of eternal life. There is no better way to take these words of Jesus to heart than to go to sacramental confession, and there is no better time to go to confession than during Lent. Repentance helps us in life and in death. It helps us to live as forgiven people and helps us to face death without fear.

Source: Excerpted from St Pauls Sunday Missal © 2012 and from Gospel reflection by Fr Tony Kadavil available at http://frtonyshomilies.com