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Aug 13th
THE BARREN FIG TREE Giving fruit. The PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 24 October 2009 15:04
THE BARREN FIG TREE Giving fruit. The patience of God. The Lord tells a parable in today's Gospel using for its setting a situation which was very familiar to the inhabitants of Palestine: A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none 1 The man then expressed his frustration to the vinedresser: Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground? The fig tree symbolizes Israel; the Chosen People who had failed to correspond to Yahweh's countless invitations.2 Yahweh is the owner of the vineyard. The fig tree represents anyone who does not heed the Lord's call to bear fruit.3 The Lord sites the tree in the best location for bearing fruit. He provides all the attention and graces required. We are the subject of God's assistance from the very moment of our conception. He gives us a Guardian Angel to protect us all our days. He gives us the immense grace of Baptism, perhaps a few days after our birth. He gives himself to us in Holy Communion and through the entire course of our Christian formation ... Then there are the innumerable gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit that we have received. Despite all this care and cultivation, it is possible that the Lord may find we have borne little fruit in our life. Maybe he will find only bitter fruit. It is possible that our personal situation may reflect that prophetic metaphor of Isaiah: Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.4 It produced sour fruit. What was the reason for this bad harvest, when everything had been done to ensure that it would be a good one? St Ambrose has written that the cause of spiritual sterility can frequently be traced to pride and hardness of heart.5 In spite of these disappointments God returns with renewed generosity time and time again to look for results. This is the patience of God towards souls. He does not become discouraged by our lack of correspondence. He knows how to wait. He sees our faults and failings but he also sees our capacity for doing good. The Lord never gives up on any soul. He trusts us through thick and thin6 God himself has promised through the prophet Isaiah: a bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench.7 The pages of the Gospel are a continuous testimony to this consoling truth: the parable of the prodigal son, that of the lost sheep ..., the meeting with the Samaritan woman, with Zacchaeus ... 1. Luke 13:6-9 2. cfHos9:10 3. cfJer8:13 4. Is 5:1-2 5. cf St Ambrose, Commentary on St Luke's Gospel, in loc 6. cf 2 Pet 3:9 7. Is 42:3 Announcement: We are conducting weekly Bible Studies (on Sunday's Gospel) via Skype every Wednesday at 8pm Philippine time. To join, just email us your Skype ID and we'll invite you. With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at ( To subscribe or unsubscribe, please email The DEFENSORES FIDEI FOUNDATION actively spreads Ecclesial Information, Catechetical Instructions and Apologetics in pursuit of making good Catholics better Catholics. Any contribution to help this apostolate is heaven-sent and now TAX-DEDUCTIBLE (in USA). Please visit us at

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Divine souls suffer violent opposition from mediocre minds.~Albert Einstein