Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
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?
Thank God the next lines in this parable are from the patient, even-keeled gardener:
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.
I can’t recall the last time, honestly, when my litany of sins I rattle off in the confessional were any different, substantially, from the time before. I did this, I didn’t do that, I neglected this, I could have been more that in this situation, I shouldn’t have done this but did. So, does that mean I should cut myself down, or let the Lord do the same to me? Is that really what He wants to do, to uproot and destroy me? Doubtful.
We have a patient God, a God who knows what fig trees are made for: for producing figs, for bearing their fruit. That’s what flourishing (literally) is: bearing the flower, the fruit.
And so, when we look at our lives, and wonder whether we might just despair and cut ourselves down for sounding like a broken record, perhaps the focus might be less on the barren branches and more on the fruits we have produced, are producing, and might, with the Lord’s gracious assistance, produce, for His greater glory.
Lord, in humility, I ask you to show me the fruitfulness of my life to date. Help me to see how I am flourishing now. And when I envision myself, with you, as my “best self,” help me to dream about the good fruit I can bear for you, in our broken world, tomorrow.