Ordinary Time Week 29: Saturday

“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?” (Luke 13:7)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on these verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“The Lord also has something very fitting to say about a fruitless tree, “Look, it is now three years that I have been coming to it. Finding no fruit on it, I will cut it down, to stop it blocking up my field.” The gardener intercedes. This tree is the human race. The Lord visited this tree in the time of the patriarchs, as if for the first year. He visited it in the time of the law and the prophets, as if for the second year. Here we are now; with the gospel the third year has dawned. Now it is as though it should have been cut down, but the merciful one intercedes with the merciful one. He wanted to show how merciful he was, and so he stood up to himself with a plea for mercy. “Let us leave it,” he says, “this year too. Let us dig a ditch around it.” Manure is a sign of humility. “Let us apply a load of manure; perhaps it may bear fruit.” Since it does bear fruit in one part, and in another part does not bear fruit, its Lord will come and divide it. What does that mean, “divide it”? There are good people and bad people now in one company, as though constituting one body.” (Sermon 254)

Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform our will to Yours
and serve Your majesty in sincerity of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen