Prayer – O Lord Jesus, let me use my time to repent and receive the Kingdom.
Imagination – (Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.)
Although the judgment is inevitable, God marvelously extends the time for repentance. This is the gift of the Fig Tree Parable. In Palestine, the first three years of a fig tree’s growth were allowed to elapse without the owner seeking fruit. In the parable, another three years has passed, a total of six years.
The fig tree absorbs large amounts of nourishment, thus depriving surrounding vines of their needed sustenance. Fertilizing a fig tree is highly unusual. This tree, therefore, will receive special, unmerited care.
The owner’s patience is past its limits, yet his mercy grants a stay of execution. When this extra year is over, no human power can prolong the time of salvation.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
A man planted a fig tree in his vineyard and came to gather its fruit. He said to the gardener, “For three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and have found none. So, cut it down. Why should it continue to exhaust the soil?”
The gardener answered him, “Lord, let it alone for one year more. I will dig around it and put manure on it. Hopefully, it will bear fruit. If not, then you can cut it down.”
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
- The vineyard represents all of creation. The fig tree is each person.
- Three years represents a fullness of time, certainly enough for the fig tree to blossom.
- The owner’s expectations are reasonable. A fig tree should produce figs. His decision is just. He has sought fruit for three years.
- Even so, the tree will be given more time. It will even receive the special care of fertilizer to nourish it.
- However, the farmer’s mercy cannot totally excuse the fig tree. It must respond to all these helps and produce life.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- O God, you have given me so much, for such a long time.
- You ask only that I produce virtues according to my state in life.
- Jesus, how patient you have been with me. Year after year you came looking for virtues.
- You even use your choicest graces, surrounding me with every possible help.
- Jesus, I will delay no longer. I will choose a devout life and bring forth virtues.
- When you come next year, I will have fruit for you.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
- I will look at my whole life and see all that God has provided.
- I will no longer delay. I will no longer put off my decision. I know what God is calling me to do.
Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
“Lord, give it another year. If it bears no fruit, then cut it down.”