Reflections - February 28, 2016

“And he told them this parable:  “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, “for three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none.  So cut it down…….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…….Lk. 13:6, 8-9.
 
A few days ago I read an article about the absent God.  This article reflected on how there are moments in our lives when we experience the absence of God.  These are dark nights when we think, “God has forgotten us”.
 
Today the Gospel presents us with the parable of the vine grower.  The vine grower proposes putting more fertilizer around the plant that is our life, however, this does not mean that there will always be growth.  The tree and its growth remind me of our everyday lives, especially when our efforts of becoming better Christians fail and our life of prayer becomes “that dark night” when it is difficult to see the fruit of our intimacy with the vine grower and our love for our neighbor.
 
Nevertheless the parable proposes for us to continue waiting, even though we may not have success in our spiritual growth, we must wait and trust.  We must wait and trust because when we realize the closeness of God in our lives, in our community and in our family, success and failure do not have the last word.  We simply do what we can.  We try to put a little bit of fertilizer, symbol of our daily effort, into our dry soil where there may not be extraordinary fruits, but we must trust and pray to get closer to the Lord even if we don’t feel spectacular interventions.
 
I think that the fertilizer in this parable can also be the hope that a humble person still has trusting in the Lord without trying to find answers to the misfortunes of life.  In the life of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ, there were many misfortunes, exile, the cross of her son……, also in the lives of the saints.  There is a phrase that Pope Francis said on his recent trip to Mexico that touched me because of its simplicity and depth.  He said:  “Jesus gambled it all for all of us”, and that disappointment that became a horrible betrayal and murder on the cross was offered by Jesus as atonement for the sins of humanity to the Vine Grower, His Father God, so that they may become the fruits of redemption.
 
Upon receiving Communion this Lent let us ask the Vine Grower, Christ our Lord, to fertilize with His unconditional love our harsh realities of daily life.  For some it may be disease, loneliness, injustice and sin.  May the Lord help us to wait and rely on His great generosity this Lent for the forgiveness of our faults and sins.