Prayer– O Lord Jesus, let me use this extra 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. The Fig Tree parable teaches that in Palestine, the owner allowed three years for a fig tree to grow. In the parable, another three years has passed, a total of six years. 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.
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.
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 to cut down the tree is just. He has sought fruit for three years.
- Even so, he will give the tree more time. It will even receive the special care of manure to nourish it.
- However, even 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.)
- God, you have given me so many graces and 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 give me 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.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
- I will 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.”