Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 8: Year 2
Morning, Psalm 106:1-18; Evening, Psalm 106:19-48;
Numbers 22:1-21; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 21:12-22
“In the morning, when he returned to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves. Then he said to it, ‘May no fruit ever come from you again!’ And the fig tree withered at once.” (Matthew 21:18 – 19)
A fig tree is born of creation yet refuses to provide food for the One through whom it has its being. We might argue that it was not the “proper” time for the fruit to come; therefore, it is not the tree’s fault. But we don’t know the hidden relationship that the Creator had with this tree.
I have read where as Jesus was on his way back to the Temple, which was also in full leaf, insofar as its population and care was concerned, produced no fruit in terms of spiritually feeding the people who came to it for spiritual nourishment. The Temple was there for the pleasure of the Temple authorities only. There was a similarity between the fruitless tree and the fruitless temple.
How about you and me and our Church? What is the spiritual fruit of our labors or the labors of our worship houses? Are we found visiting the sick, or assisting those with no transportation to the store or medical appointments? These are especially challenging questions as we recover from the COVID pandemic. But we must not use the pandemic as an excuse, or free pass, to not help our neighbors, less we too become the fruitless tree. Our Churches should feed our faith as we return to regular attendance so that God is not disappointed when looking for the fruits of faith.
Continue to keep Ukraine in your prayers. The fruits of our prayers are made manifest in the faith of the people of Ukraine. Never, never, never give up. God wins, every time.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John