A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 8:1-11
“The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you.”
Brethren: There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 24: 1-2.3-4ab.5-6 (R. see 6)
R/. These are the people who seek your face, O Lord.
The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world, and all who dwell in it.
It is he who set it on the seas;
on the rivers he made it firm. R/.
Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The clean of hands and pure of heart,
whose soul is not set on vain things. R/.
Blessings from the Lord shall he receive,
and right reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the people who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. R/.
ALLELUIA Ezekiel 33: 11
Alleluia. I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord, but that he turn from his way and live. Alleluia.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 13: 1-9)
“Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
There were some present at that very time who told Jesus of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Behold, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”’
The Gospel of the Lord.
The parable of the fig tree is an image of how the Lord relates to us. He is slow to give up on us even when the signs are not promising. He pours His grace into our lives and ensures that we bear the rich fruit of the Holy Spirit. We have a part to play, though; the Lord cannot work in our lives despite us. The parable assures us that the Lord’s efforts on our behalf will always far exceed whatever efforts we might make. As Paul says, grace abounds and, even when sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.