“Leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future.”

Jesus uses the reports of recent murders and accidental deaths to let it be known that these victims’ demise had nothing to do with any particularly sinful behavior on their parts.  But, Jesus tells his listeners that they will suffer death as well if they don’t repent.  Jesus then tells the parable of the fig tree that has borne no fruit in three years.  The orchard owner says to cut it down, but the gardener asks for one more year so that he can cultivate the tree more carefully so that it may yet yield fruit.  This one year reprieve granted the fruitless tree may well serve as a model for our own lives.  Wherever we may be in our relationship with Christ, now is the opportune time to tend to a better, deeper, more frequent, more steady, and more disciplined prayer and spiritual life.  Frequent, even daily, reading of Scripture (Mass is ideal for this) is rich soil in which we are called to be deeply rooted.  In addition, reading good Catholic books, magazines, and journals engage us and provide light for growth.  And, of course, our actions speak the loudest.  Frequenting Mass and Confession with a firm purpose of amendment for sins will help us till the soil of our wills so that they align with God’s will, leading us to love God and neighbor as we ought.  Let us start our one year plan today so that we begin to bear fruit immediately and will never be in a position to be cut down because of our lack of yield.

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