Fruitful, Fearless and Forgiving

Mark 11: 11-26
1 Pet 4:7-13 / Psa 96

Have faith in God… whoever… does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it shall be done for him.
(Mark 11:22-23)

Lord Jesus, free me from any doubt,
Give me courage for faith to stand out;
Unless my life is fruitful for Thee,
My faith will be like a withered tree.

On His way from Bethany with the disciples, Jesus felt hungry, and seeing a fig tree in the distance, he went to see if he could find a fruit on it. Since it was not in season, he found nothing but leaves. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. Arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he taught them, saying, “Is it not written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of thieves.” The chief priests and the scribes heard about it and sought a way to kill him; for they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching. The next day, passing by the fig tree, they saw it withered to its roots. Peter remembered and said to Him, “Master, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered.” And Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it shall be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Reflection

Everything that our Lord Jesus did served a purpose for the enlightenment of His disciples. Even a fig tree that was fruitless because figs were not yet in season had to be sacrificed for the benefit of His followers. Our Lord would later give a similar lesson in His analogy of the vine and the branches: “Whoever remains in me, and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5) And what are we called Christians for if we do not give back what we have received? It would be better for us not to exist at all if we are not fruitful and have nothing to offer in his life. In the same way, one must be willing to give up his life to fight for the truth and the principle of his faith. Jesus demonstrated this by singlehandedly overpowering the merchants who were desecrating the temple of God with their commerce, fearlessly antagonizing the chief priests and the temple officials who had allowed their activities.

Jesus was never afraid of His enemies. On the contrary, it was they who feared Him, because He stood for the truth and the multitudes followed Him. But He did not rely on His divine powers to influence His followers, even though a fig tree could wither to its roots at His very command. Instead, He taught them to have faith, because it is in one’s total trust in God where true power lies. He taught them (and us) that it is in constant communication with the Father in prayer that we can develop our faith. No mountain of obstacles can prevail against it. But communication with God can only be clear and invigorating if we bear no ill will against anyone, but sustained instead by a forgiving heart. This, after all is the essence of the prayer that Jesus taught us when we pray to the Father: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Grant me, dear God, a heart full of faith in Your love; with courage to drive out of my life what is evil and unjust; with enthusiasm to be fruitful in spreading the Good News of Christ; and always forgiving, to be worthy of His great sacrifice. Amen.

Comments are closed.