The story of the men killed in a collapse of a tower at Siloam, as well as those who were killed by Pilate, were examples of Jesus’ teaching which uses an analogy of “it was not their fault; but…” No, Jesus notes that their sins were not the cause of their untimely death. However , you can also face an untimely death today – at an unknown time – so you had better prepare now to meet your maker!
This becomes evident in the story of the barren fig tree. It has produced nothing, so the owner wants to cut it down. The gardener begs to give him one more year to work with the troublesome tree, hoping that it will eventually bear fruit with proper caring. But the story does not mean that there is no end to the owner’s patience. Rather, there will come a time when it must produce fruit or face extinction.
That is the connection. We never know when the patience of God is over, and we receive the call to “come home for an accounting” – i.e., the individual judgment after death. Therefore, the message is prepare now – in fact, prepare daily for the rest of your life. Lent is a time when this message is brought home in a special way for each one of us. “Repent” is not a word for “them” – it is a word calling each of us to take action to be reconciled with God and neighbour, right now before it is too late.
Consider your own life honestly: are you a barren fig tree? What treatment do you really deserve from your Creator right now? What do you need to do about that? God is intent on saving his people, and he called Moses to assist in this long journey to freedom (see Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15). Lent is a special time to help us in our process of purification and enlightenment. We are not alone: the Holy Spirit gives us special gifts to assist us on this journey.