‘You spare all things because all things are yours, Lord, lover of life…’
About two years ago, Sr. Helina and I were working in the kitchen at Catching Lives Community Shelter when another volunteer decided to tidy the window sill. She picked up from it a little reddish plant which was sitting in a yoghurt pot of dirt, sporting one sorry-looking leaf. This, she quite sensibly proposed to tidy into the dustbin. ‘”No!”’ cried Helina and I in unison and we immediately offered to take it home and look after it. Our rescue plant surprised us. When it flowered, we discovered it was a begonia. This year, it outgrew our chapel and had to be moved to a roomier spot. Over the summer, it put out a cascade of exotic blooms and the beginnings of new leaves all along its stems.
Jesus challenges us to treat each other with mercy as we treated the plant, never giving up on anyone but allowing people the time and the conditions they need to grow and change. That is why He told a parable about a gardener who asked the landowner to spare a fruitless tree from being cut down. The gardener wanted it to have another year of nurturing to help it bear fruit. He could guarantee no results for the following year …but as there are no limits on God’s mercy, I can picture him going back to the landowner every year with the same request until the fruit finally appears. (Luke 13:6-9)
‘…you are merciful to all, because you can do all things and overlook people’s sins so that they can repent.’