Thought for the Day – 7 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
“Today’s subject for meditation is the parable of the barren fig tree in the Gospel of St Luke.
“A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard and he came seeking fruit thereon and found none. And he said to the vine-dresser, ‘Behold, for tree years now, I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and I find none. Cut it down, therefore; why does it still encumber the ground?’ But he answered him and said, ‘Sir, let it alone this year too, till I dig around it and manure it. Perhaps it may bear fruit but, if not, then afterwards thous shalt cut it down'” (Lk 13:6-9).
Perhaps Jesus has come many times to us also, looking for the fruit of our good works and has found none.
Perhaps, He has continued to bestow favours and blessings upon us and, perhaps, He has waited many years for us to correspond with His grace by performing acts of penance and of expiation.
We may have made good resolutions many times but, what became of them?
Temptations of various kinds may have caused us to neglect these resolutions, which remained like branches without any fruit.
We must remember, that although God is infinitely good and merciful, He is also, infinitely just.
The day could come when He might say: “Cut it down. Why does it still encumber the ground?”
In that case, what would become of us?
An episode described in the Gospel of St Mark, should induce serious reflection.
Jesus was walking from Bethany to Jerusalem and grew hungry on the way.
He saw a fig tree beside the road but, on inspection, found that it was barren.
“And He said to it: ‘May no fruit ever come from thee henceforth forever!’
“And immediately, the fig tree withered up.”
His disciples, we are told, were amazed when they saw this happening (Cf Mt 21:18-20).
How terrible, if God should ever pronounce this severe condemnation upon us!”
Antonio Cardinal Bacci