The WORD in Other Words by Fr Flavie Villanueva SVD (Philippines) Saturday Week 29 Ordinary Time, Lk 13:1-9
Blessy, 14 years old, witnessed the murder of her parents inside their shanty during Operation Tokhang, “war on drugs” campaign. Her father, a rehabilitated drug user, pleaded mercy but to no avail. Her mother, having witnessed the husband‘s murder, was not spared.
In sharing her story among fellow victims, she said that despite being left with a deep wound from witnessing her parents‘ murder, she realized now that she was never alone because of the community of fellow victims. The experience was not the end of the world for her. She still had others to take care of, a new mission to pursue. There is hope despite the dark past.
In the first part of today‘s Gospel, Jesus presents the face of suffering. Suffering is real and a lot of times inhumane, so vicious that it robs the person of dignity. But as Christians and followers of Christ, we remember that although we are perplexed with the existence of “suffering,” this perplexity can serve as a bridge towards a better understanding of the mystery of our Faith and even make us grow closer to God.
The second part of the gospel narrates the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree. Having seen that his fig tree failed to produce any fruit after three years, the master decides to have it cut down. But with a more hopeful stance, the gardener begged his master to give him a chance to cultivate it anew for a year.
God created everything unique. Each person has unique thoughts, feelings, responses, reactions, strengths, limitations. Even suffering is unique to every individual. Like Blessy and the gardener, let us not easily give up but persevere in cultivating ourselves, our relationships, our dreams, our mission, and our Faith for the good of our nation. Let‘s be a “Blessy” or a “gardener” to someone today.