Fig Trees Today

figSome people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.

He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? …Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?…”

And he told them this parable:

“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’

He said to him in reply,

‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’” (Luke 13:1-9)

Us: Fig trees that don’t bear fruit like we should. The gardener digs around the roots, fertilizes the soil—-to help us come into our own.

Ginevra de Benci by Leonardo da VWe have great potential, after all. Maybe not necessarily great potential to write novels or paint Mona Lisas. But great potential to love, great potential to worship the Creator, great potential to behold the Creator’s beautiful image in myself and in my neighbor.

–Is it just me, or are the two parts of the gospel reading (for tomorrow’s Holy Mass) really striking in the different pace in the images?

In the first part: swift, sudden death. Bam, bam, bam. Pilate kills Galileans. A tower collapses and kills everyone there.

Then the second part of the reading. The fig tree has no fruit. Okay, but let’s wait another year. Already waited three. An old, experienced gardener, who thinks of years as if they were passing days.

St. Paul tells us that our lives are: faith working through love. We believe. We hope for divine fulfillment. We patiently love.

Today might mean swift, sudden death for any of us. It might.

After all, today is all we really have. It has a sudden immediacy to it, of it’s very nature, it’s very today-ness. Yesterday has passed forever, and tomorrow…doesn’t exist.

But let’s try to look at it from the Lord’s point-of-view. He actually has all eternity, completely in His possession. All the yesterdays, all the tomorrows—He has them all, possesses all of that, and has infinitely more to boot. Yet He patiently doles out today for us, gives us a chance to take a step closer to the goal of bearing figs of love like we should. Every day He fertilizes, nutrifies our roots.

So let’s open up our leaves, take in the sun, and get a day closer to the fruit-bearing stage.

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