In the parable of the fig tree, the owner of the garden represents God himself. He came in search for fruit after waiting for the fig tree for three years. Yet again, he found none. “So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?” But the gardener reasoned out to wait for another year. “I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;” the gardener had said. We see, brothers and sisters, the gardener was Jesus. He hoped for the fig tree. He promised to work on it and wait for it. Jesus is trying to tell us the same. Jesus hopes for us to change. Jesus promises to work on us and wait for us. Do we allow him to do that?
Cultivation and fertilizer are two important procedures in farming or agriculture in order to produce a good harvest. Soil becomes exhausted when it hasn’t been good cultivated for a long time. When you look at it, it’s as if the soil could not breathe. And sometimes, we become like exhausted soils, too. We passively settle for our sinful ways, thinking that we will postpone repentance and change for tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, until just, whenever. Then we wonder why we are so weary, so restless, so unsatisfied with our lives. We become scared of pursuing change because we have become used to our sinful ways that we have almost depended on it for security and stability. Looking back, I remember how I used to be a big “palamura” back then. My friends would laugh whenever I blurt out curse words because I would deliver them with such conviction. They would say, “Wow, ang lutong grabe!” And I took pleasure in every laugh I got. I thought to myself, this is how people know me. And I embraced that identity. Until I crossed upon Luke 6:45 which said, ” … For from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” I was deeply struck when I read that. I thought to myself, my heart is certainly full of something. But surely it isn’t love. So, I pursued change. But it wasn’t easy because my friends would tease me a lot. “Wow, ‘di na kita kilala ah.” And I feared that people would love me less because of change. But by the grace of God, I remained steadfast and now, more than conversion of heart, I now speak to you brothers and sisters, not with curse words, but with my testimony to the Lord our God.
Truly, like the barren soul, Jesus is the one who constantly cultivates and fertilizes us. At the same time, he is hopeful and patient to each of us. But nothing changes if nothing changes. We must act upon change and not just dream of change. The Lord surely knows the way to cultivate our hearts. If we listen carefully, we will hear his voice leading us to every next step. He promises to be with us through the change and promises to keep our hearts strengthened, steadfast and fertilized through the Eucharist. If we surrender our conversion to God, what else is impossible? And when we have successfully converted our hears, we owe it to Him to bear fruit. Our daily experience of God is our testimony to others of the Lord’s patient and hopeful love.
- Source: March 24th 2019 issue of the Neo Jeremiah Voice of the Young Prophet Newsletter