Daily Office Readings for Monday Proper 15 Year 1
“He said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard it.” (Mark 11:14)
On his way to the Temple, where he will throw out the money-changers, Jesus curses a fig tree. “The fig tree is a symbol of Israel, embodied in the Temple and its leaders. Each appears to be thriving; neither is bearing the desired fruit; both are condemned by Jesus.” (Lamar Williamson, Jr. writing for Interpretation: a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Knox Press 1983 p. 206)
All too often the Temple, the Church, the clergy, and the people look good on the outside. But, are they bearing any fruit?
I knew a man once who was in charge of a library on a military base specifically established with books, magazines and other materials for assisting separating service members as they were returning to civilian life. The library looked good, perfect in fact. The problem was that the man in charge wanted everything to stay that way. When someone would come in to borrow or make use of the materials the man in charge would helicopter over the users to the point that they couldn’t copy or checkout anything. The manager wanted everything to stay in perfect order in the event there was a surprise inspection. The end result was that the place was useless; no fruit.
If we are not careful our houses of worship will be the same way. We must be “user friendly.” We need to go out of our way to ensure our facilities are at the disposal of worthwhile initiatives like AA, feeding stations for out of school children, and other neighborhood groups that need a place to organize and do good works.
Also, we need to move out and do those good services that require us to be Christ in community like providing transportation for people wanting to go to church or to the hospital or pharmacy. We need to make sure that food and other provisions placed in our care actually arrive at their intended destinations.
All of these kinds of things and more are the fruit that God is looking for. We are not in the community just to look good; but to do good, to bear fruit.
Let us ponder anew what the Almighty is doing. John+