Saturday, October 21, 2006


Jesus Curses the Fig Tree - Mediaeval

Posted on the 5th Day of the 28th Week of Ordinary Time - 2006 AD - (Year B)

Jesus cursing the fig tree scares me more than almost any other story in Scripture, Old and New Testament. Commentaries on this event, point to the state of Israel at that time, that it was all show (outward virtue) while bearing no real fruit for humanity. Of course this is part of why Our Lord became incarnate, to bring all nations to himself. However, I think this story has implications for everyone on an individual level also.

The excuse the fig tree had is that it was out of season. It wasn't the right time of year for figs. Our Lord cursed it anyway. As humans with free will, we don't have the same luxury as the fig tree. All seasons are the right season, all times are the right time. It is part of what we are as the Children of God that we transcend time, place, season. When Our Lord comes to us to ask, we must freely give and have something to give. The fruit must be on the branch, ripe and ready to be plucked. Otherwise we are cut down and cast away, cursed.

The difficulty I always have with this in my own life is that I am never sure what fruit the Lord wants me to bear. What does He mean by 'bear fruit'? Have children? Give alms? These things are within my 'comfort zone' and as such are easy for me to do. But what I know and what my conscience nags at me about, is that it isn't enough, by a long way. I make excuses. I work very long hours, my family life is chaotic and demanding, I have a lot of responsibilities and obligations just to keep things ticking over. What I am really saying through all of this though, is that it's not the right season (for me to do the other things I should be doing to help build up the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth). Am I failing to bear fruit? Jesus gave us an example in that he reserved nothing for himself or his family. He gave himself away wholly and absolutley on the Cross in order to save mankind. An act of pure Love and Charity. This is what he expects from us. The kind of fruit we are supposed to bear through our Poverty and Charity. Every act in our lives should have this as its guiding force. It is what we are here for, this building up of the Kingdom of God. In my own life I know I very badly need to venture out from my 'comfort zone', and find real ways in which I can help build up this Kingdom. Otherwise what am I? Just a passenger, a tourist, here to see what life might bring me? This is most decidedly not the purpose of life, just to experience it. We are the Children of God and as such we have the God given duty to strengthen his Kingdom on Earth, to do what our brothers and sisters need when they come to us naked, starving, incarcerated and dying (suffering). In order to do this, by very definition we have to step outside of the 'comfort zone' and in doing this we donate more than the easy tithe, the church collection, the love we have for our children or our neighbour, we donate our very suffering. In order to really help, we must by definition suffer to make that help effective. In doing this we not only give what might be needed, but we also give the example of our own lives for others to follow, therby strengthening the future too.

Like the fig tree suffering will come to us if we fail to bear fruit. But the suffering we experience through the fruits we do bear is that, our fruit is taken away from us and used by the Lord of the Vinyard for His Own Purpose to best build and strengthen his Kingdom here on Earth. We may see the results of those fruits, we may very well not and neither should we expect to, nor become attatched to those outcomes. What is clear is that, in the Vinyard, the dead trees are always and forever, cut down and cast into fire.

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