In today’s Gospel, Jesus presented the importance of repentance, of changing our mind and heart. This means we need to acknowledge anything that we put before God. Anything that keeps us from allowing God into any part of our lives will prevent us the sufficient sustenance to grow, mature, and bear fruit.
Jesus offers the parable of a man who has some concern about one of his fig trees that did not bear fruit for three years. The owner of the orchard debates with the gardener about whether this tree ought to be uprooted and another one planted in its place. The gardener responds: “Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down” (Lk 13:8-9).
The gardener sees the potential of the fig tree and that it needs some care. Jesus, as he did with his disciples, sees the same potential in us. Jesus does not give up on us nor define us by our worst mistakes. At the same time, he also recognizes that we cannot just go along and do whatever we want on our own terms. Jesus has come that we may be one with him and his Father and that we can live a life of meaning and fulfillment in this life and the next. Jesus meets us where we are, loves us as we are, and then cares for and empowers us to become who we are called to be. Are we willing to receive his love, his nourishment, as well as his pruning?
Jesus is not only willing to prune those aspects which separate us from God, but he will also cultivate the soil of our soul and fertilize us with his divine life. Jesus will not leave us alone in our growing and maturation, but we need to repent from our self centered reality. We need to surrender our control, and trust totally in Jesus to allow him to shape and conform our will to his. When we do so, the divine life grows within us.
Jesus, please help us to recognize that your grace is sufficient and builds upon our nature. Help us to trust in you as our Divine Gardener to: prune our pride, that we may bear the fruit of love; our despair, that we may bear the fruit of joy; our anger, that we may bear the fruit of peace; our impatience, that we may bear the fruit of patience; our cruelty, that we may bear the fruit of kindness; our meanness, that we may bear the fruit of goodness; our contempt, that we may bear the fruit of understanding; and our impulsiveness, that we may bear the fruit of self control.
Photo: I and my trees are in need of some pruning!