February 28, 2016 - 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
I love figs. I love to eat them raw. But I really love them when they are cooked into fig preserves. I think the fig is a really delicious fruit, almost a delicacy.
But the fig tree is not a beautiful tree. It’s really just a shrub with those leathery leaves. Even though I love them, I can can’t pick figs because of those leaves. I break out into hives.
And you can always tell when a fig tree is struggling. It’s not full and the leaves turn yellow and fall off. It’s pretty obvious when a fig tree is struggling.
Many of us are very much like that struggling fig tree. From all outward appearances, it seems that we’ve squandered our resources and exhausted the soil.
It’s funny that we think we can hide this from God, but we can’t. The Lord God looks down from heaven and sees everything.
Listen again to what the Lord God tells Moses in the first reading:
I have seen. I have heard. I am well aware of the sufferings of the people.
But God will not give up on us just yet. We are too precious in his sight. We are worth more time, more resources, more tender care, more love. We are.
God, who is cultivating the soil, is patiently waiting for us to bear fruit. So we ask the Lord to awaken in us the desire to bear fruit.
God keeps pouring resources down on us: the scriptures and the sacraments nourish us. Mercy and compassion and forgiveness are showered upon us soaking our roots.
We come here today because we need pruning. Christ the gardener prunes away what is sinful, cuts away at the sins we commit.
We come here today because we need nourishment. Christ gives us his body as food to eat. Christ gives us his blood as spiritual drink.
We come here today because we need light. We need Christ the Light to shine on the dark places in our lives.
We come here today because we need water. We need Christ the spring of life giving water to refresh us with life giving water.
Even though we look as pitiful as a struggling fig tree, the Lord God will give us one more year.
But remember. If the fig tree fails to bear fruit it will be cut down and thrown onto the fire.
Our selfishness and our sinfulness are not be be ignored. During this Lent, we repent and ask for mercy.
We beg Jesus to be our gardener and to help us produce good fruit, fruit as sweet and as rich as those figs that I love so much.