REFLECTION FOR TODAY
October 23, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“‘For three years now, I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘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. 13:7-9.
Jesus speaks about productiveness of the fig tree in our gospel reference of today. How productive are we today and what kind of fruits do we bear? The patience of God and the desire of Jesus to cultivate the soil was also reflected in the gospel reference above. So, the question for us today is, how much good fruit is born from your life? This is an important question to answer honestly.
Good fruit is born in various ways and manifests itself in various forms. However, the fruit you must look for is twofold. First, it is the fruit found within your own soul resulting from a life of true prayer and union with God. Second, we must look for the fruit that is born of charity in our actions toward others.
When we look honestly at our own souls, what do we see? Often, we may see a sort of war within us in which your disordered passions and appetites fight against the Spirit of God. Good spiritual fruit will require interior purification. Through prayer, fasting, and spiritual reading, we must look for ways in which God’s Spirit can take control of our disordered human nature and reorders it in accord with His holy will.
Though we are all sinners, and will all fall at times, we must work diligently to overcome every action, desire, and temptation that we can objectively discern to be contrary to the will of God. At times, our fallen human nature can so forcefully draw us into sin that it can confuse our intellect and lead us to rationalization of our sins. But if we want the fruit of God’s presence in our lives, we must continually choose to make our interior life a fruitful garden in which the virtues of God grow and are nourished in abundance.
As God nourishes the virtues within us, and our disordered passions and appetites fall under the control of the Spirit of God, then we will also discover a need to allow the interior fruits of God’s love to flow forth from our lives into the lives of others. We will begin to desire selfless and sacrificial living. We will begin to desire to put others first. We will consider others’ lives as precious and filled with dignity. And we will overcome judgment, harshness, anger, and other negative tendencies.
Reflect, today, upon your soul being like this fig tree that has not been bearing fruit. See our Lord coming to you and asking you to allow Him to cultivate the ground and fertilize it. Know that this requires change on your part. If you are to bear good fruit, then you need this intervention by our Lord. Work with Him, be diligent, and do all you can to begin to bear an abundance of good fruit so that you are not among those who are ultimately cut down by God’s justice.
Lord, You never cease to work diligently to cultivate the soil of my soul so that the seeds of Your mercy will grow and produce the good fruit You desire to come forth from my life. Please give me the grace I need to be faithful to a daily life of prayer, a practice of penance and a search for Your holy Word. Transform me, dear Lord, and bring forth the good fruit of Your holy Kingdom in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.