Luke 13:1-9 A Tree and Some Fruit
It seems as though the world revolves around trees: first, the trees in the Garden of Eden; then the tree of knowledge. Finally, there were the trees in Gethsemane that surrounded our Lord; the tree that would end the traitor's life and the tree that would save our lives and end our Savior's life.
The Lord tells us the parable of the fig tree. For three years it did not produce any fruit. Be assured, he tells us, that if it does not produce any fruit, it will be cut down. There is no need for it to exhaust the soil. There is no need for it to exist. For three years the Lord preached. For three years he healed the broken hearted. Would he find any faith on earth? Yes. He would. Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it cannot bear any fruit.
It is amazing how much the Lord accomplished in three short years; in such a tiny area of the world; in the era in which he walked the face of the earth and under the conditions that he was able to minister. Did he ever complain? Never.
How often do I feel limited? How often do I tell myself that if I had some extra resources (money, technology, and position of authority) I could make a huge difference? I complain and lament that I have not been given a fair deal. The people around me just do not seem to understand. They do not get it! They have no vision, no idea of what I want to accomplish. I feel rejected. I feel disgusted. I feel abandoned. And yet, the Lord was able to accomplish so much, so quickly, under the same conditions, if not worse!
Lord, open my eyes to see that respect, honor, dignity, authority, holiness, love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy are given to those who know you more sincerely, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly.
This past Sunday, the Holy Father canonized some remarkable men and women who lived their faith amidst tremendous obstacles and human weaknesses. "I choose the weak and make them strong!" This is the handiwork of God. This is the way He operates. The Lord's fingerprints are all over his saints!
One Saint, St. Andre Bessette, died at the age of 91. He lived a childhood of poverty, orphaned at the tender age of 12. He was illiterate and initially turned down from religious life due to poor health and frailty. Pope Benedict commented that "his suffering and impoverishment led him to turn to God for prayer and intense interior life." Look and see what God can do through us when we turn to him with open hearts, open arms and on our knees. From a tiny woodland chapel, he built the beautiful and magnificent St. Joseph Oratory on Mount Royal.
Take some time to read the lives of these saints. Their lives remind us that we should never make excuses to God.