Today’s parable of the barren fig tree can make us very uncomfortable.
What is Jesus telling us?
God expects something from you; so get busy doing it? God certainly desires that we bear fruit. But it’s important that we remember that fruit comes not so much from what we do but from what God does through us.
Jesus uses the fruit tree for a purpose. Think about how fruit comes about. The roots of the tree receive nutrients from the earth, and the leaves receive energy from the sun. The tree produces flowers that are pollinated by wind and insects -- all outside sources – and fruit is the result.
The main work the tree has to “do” is remain receptive to everything that God provides for it. In the same way, God makes us fruitful through his presence in us. God wants to fill our talents and abilities with his power
so that we can bear fruit for the kingdom.
In today’s first reading, Moses is attracted to the burning bush not because it’s on fire, but because the fire wasn’t destroying the bush. In the same way, as God dwells in us and shows his life through us, we will burn with the brightness of the Lord. Our natural personalities and gifts won’t be destroyed. They will have a new power to draw other people to the Lord who lives in us.
God’s great desire is to live in us so that we can be fruitful. God wants us to do the works of Jesus today so that God’s kingdom becomes more evident in today’s world. Lent is a time to let God nourish his fire within us through prayer, reading Scripture, and serving our brothers and sisters. When we allow Jesus to live in us more fully, our lives become more and more fruitful because Jesus is living and loving through us.
Let us continue to seek our Lenten nourishment from our God. Let us ask him to bear the fruit that he has destined for us.