At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
“Oh my God, teach me to be generous….” (St. Ignatius Loyola)
I am so grateful for the spiritual “gardeners” in my life who did not give up on me. Despite my fits and starts, my doubts and many distractions, they cultivated my faith, feeding it with no guarantee that their efforts would ever bear fruit. Their generosity of spirit has been a precious gift to me.
Today’s Gospel invites us to reflect on the importance of cultivating our own spiritual growth, but it is also a call to a greater generosity. What does it mean for my life that God expects his faithful people to bear fruit? Each of us, in our own way, affects the faith of others, for better or worse. We do it by the witness of our lives. We create the ground in which the faith of others can thrive. That co-laboring with God to bring people into deeper communion with the divine is the response of a true disciple to God’s gift of love.
Can I be the generous gardener who says “Shower your grace on this person, Lord, and I will companion them so their faith may grow.”?
—Pam Coster is Executive Director of Charis Ministries. Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s nationwide, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality. www.charisministries.org
Gracious God, thank you for the gift of those people in my life who have shown me your face and helped me grow in faith. I name them now in love…….May the witness of their lives and trust in you ever be my guide. Grant me the grace to help others discover the beauty of faith. “May my living today reveal your goodness.”
—Pat Bergen, CSJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!