Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day through the Scripture passages we have heard, we are reminded by God to be righteous and to grow in faith and be fruitful in all of our actions. The Lord used the parable of the fig tree to highlight this to His disciples and to all of us, how each and every one of us must be living faithfully in accordance to the way of the Lord.
The Lord used the examples of a fig tree in the parable because many of the people living at the time of Jesus’ ministry were farmers, or if not, they were quite aware and knowledgeable of what a fig tree looks like, how they grow and behave in life. And figs are frequently consumed in the region, being highly prized for their sweetness and many uses in food. Therefore, figs that are not sweet or good in quality were useless.
And knowing how plants and trees work, if the fig tree produces a bad quality fig, it is likely that many more of its fruits will be of bad quality as well. But this is not necessarily true, as the fruits will have variations in its quality, although it will still reflect the quality of the parent plant. Nonetheless, from the perspective of a farmer, having a tree that does not produce fruit or produce bad fruits did not make sense.
That is why, the owner of the fig tree wanted to cut down the tree as having the tree to remain growing did not serve well the purpose of its growth, only being a burden to the farm and does not bring benefit to the owner. That is how a farmer thinks, and that is how this world is usually thinking as well, because something that is of no value should not be kept or maintained, and instead should be replaced.
But the Lord used this example because He wants us all to understand first of all that His ways are not like the ways of this world. He does not treat us like a commodity or a possession, for each and every single one of us are precious to Him and are dearly beloved, and that was how the Lord represented this in the gardener, who pleaded for the fig tree to be spared and be given a second chance to grow and bear good fruits.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, each and every one of us are represented by those fig trees and God is the master and the gardener both. And why is that so? That is because God is both our Judge and our loving Father. As God loves us all as mentioned, He wants us all to have a chance and to be reconciled with Him as much as possible. If we have been living our lives wickedly all these while, like those fig trees producing the bad and rotten fruits, or having no fruits at all, then He wants us to be transformed into those who can bear good fruits of faith, being righteous and just in all things.
But at the same time, we cannot and should not delay in accepting God’s generous offer of love and mercy, as many of us took for granted the love and mercy that God had been showing us all these while. If we keep on rejecting Him and continue to live in sin, the time of reckoning will eventually come to us and catch up with us, at the time that we are most unprepared for. And at that time, no matter how much regret we have, it will be meaningless and too late for us.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture passages point out to us how God wants us to be faithful to Him and therefore to follow Him and His path. And He is calling on us to turn to Him and to be righteous in life. St. Paul in our first reading today in his Epistle to the Romans also spoke of this as he exhorted the faithful to live by the way of the Spirit and not by the way of the flesh.
This is a reminder for us to turn away from our sins and from our past disobedience against God’s will. Are we able to commit ourselves to God and to His will from now on? Are we able to make the effort to walk in His path regardless of the challenges and difficulties we may face along this journey? Let us be more faithful and bear good fruits from now on, and be ever closer to God. May God be with us always and bless us in our good endeavours. Amen.