Homily – March 24, 2019

As some of you may know we haven’t had much luck with our garden outside this window. We did have high hopes. We discovered that because our garden space was also the roof of our underground parking it could only take so much soil, not enough to fulfill our garden plans. We’ll be starting again this spring with more plans.

In a way our garden committee is like the gardener in today’s gospel with his plea for another year to tend the fig tree. We’ll give it another try, They’ll work on it, and try something new.

In today’s gospel Jesus is not the impatient landowner but the gardener, anxious to give this struggling fig tree another chance.

The soil that nourished the religious life of the people of Jesus’ time lacked the nutrients necessary to nourish a healthy relationship with God. Maybe the nutrient that was lacking was the one that nourished the insight that there is more to a person’s relationship with God than keeping a mass of regulations and customs. The nutrient needed was the one that fostered the grow of a loving relationship with God that showed itself in the love and care and respect for one’s neighbour, a love and care and respect for a stranger. The soil needed a nutrient that provided the ability to seek justice and peace with neighbours and strangers.

Jesus, the gardener would provide that nutrient through his preaching and through his life giving death on the cross.

I think we are all trying to comprehend what possessed a man to enter two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and murder 50 men women and children and wounding many others. What hatred and anger and fear possessed him and caused him to wipe out other human beings he saw as different from himself. We find out he is infected with the virus of White Supremacy. The white race is superior to all others. Other races must be kept in their place, inferior of course. How quickly we forget the devastation such thinking brought on Europe and Russia just 70 short years ago. But scientists know that our human race had its beginnings in Africa, we’re all out of Africa no matter how we got to where we are today.

It seems there is a nutrient missing in our spiritual growth in the teaching of Jesus; love one another as I have loved you. Our present soil seems to contain toxics that set us against one another. A toxic that makes us see other peoples as less than us, a toxic that nourishes us to see the stranger, the immigrant as a threat to our own wellbeing.

It’s one thing to wonder was possessed this White Supremacist to do what he did but his madness can make us look into ourselves and see if we might be influenced in our attitudes and actions by that same toxicity: a toxicity that makes us consider men and women of different faiths, cultures, races and life styles as inferior to ourselves.

In spite of evil, God does continue to work, God’s plan does continue to unfold, and our very misfortunes become part of the growth of love, truth, and justice. There are times when we forget that God is ultimately in charge. I’ll end quoting these words of hope;

The divine plan often unfolds under a dark wing, today’s error is at the service of tomorrow’s truth, and God’s providence often bypasses the structures of power. And so our faith needs to look deeper than what’s happening on the surface, our hope needs to ground itself on something beyond what’s on the daily news, and our charity needs to be less fearful and less paranoid. God is always alive and working underneath. Nothing will be lost of our efforts and sufferings, even of our failure and errors.

We pray that Jesus, the hard working gardener of today’s gospel care for and nourish our growth in his life and love.