Friday of the 29the Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 8: 1 – 11; Ps. 24; Luke 13: 1 – 9)
The parable St. Luke recounts, like some others, stands alone; not much of an introduction and no explanation follows – yet, obviously enough, it was important to St. Luke to include it in his Gospel and ultimately it has something to do with Jesus’ call to repentance. .
Pope Benedict XVI wrote of Jesus: “As His preaching continues, it becomes ever clearer that in His parables He is talking about Himself, that the “Kingdom” and His own person belong together, that the Kingdom is coming in His own person. The decision He demands is a decision on how one stands in relation to Him…”
So what can we learn from it for our own journey of faith? Under the figure of a fig tree, God looks for good fruit from us – the results of His grace. His mercy, love, goodness are not throw-aways – they are most serious gifts necessary for our journey into eternal life which God desires for us.
We can conclude then that the owner of the fig tree is God the Father and the vinedresser is Jesus, His Son. Then this teaching might have something to say about God’s merciful and generous patience – His patience with us as we struggle along in life with our victories and our defeats – with our daily labor of the obedience of faith.
This brings to mind what St. Benedict wrote in the Prologue of the Rule: “The Lord waits for us daily to translate into action, as we should, His holy teaching…therefore our life span has been lengthened by way of a truce that we should amend our misdeeds.”
Then St. Benedict adds: “As the Apostle (St. Paul) says, “Do you not know that the patience of God is leading you to repent?” And we can answer, Yes, we do know!” And St. Benedict might pointedly ask, “And what follows from that?”