The Gospel today is sometimes known as the “Gospel of the second chance”.
In the second part of it we see the owner coming to the vinedresser looking for fruit from his fig tree. There is none. So, he tells the gardener to cut it down. However, the vinedresser pleads with the owner to give it another year, to give it a second chance.
God is like this. However, in God’s case, it is not only ‘a second chance, and no more’. God ALWAYS gives us another chance. Do we notice this, appreciate his goodness to us, or do we take God for granted? Are we unaware of how blessed we are by this Forgiving God?
During this Lent, it might be an idea to take time out, take a period of our lives – long or short – and reflect on how privileged we have been, all the good things that have happened to us, how blessed by God we have been, how forgiven by God we have been. Then, of course, thank God for His goodness, and ask forgiveness for our lack of forgiveness towards others.
And there’s the rub! Most of us find forgiveness a big challenge – particularly towards someone who has hurt us or someone whom we don’t like. Jesus did not say that it would be easy. When Peter thought that he was being very forgiving in suggesting to Jesus that he should forgive “seven times seven” this was over double what the Jewish Law required at the time.
Jesus’ reply was “not seven times, but seventy times seven”, meaning by that we should always be ready to forgive.
What sort of a “chance” person are we? A one chance, like the vinedresser? A seven chance, like Peter? An always chance, like God?