-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this weeks LinC letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30pm, 11:00am and 6:00pm
A living tree without fruit is not alive!
I am reading the parable of the fig tree in a different way than I ever have before. Jesus' point, it seems, in describing this fruitless figtree is to point out that the tree has no value except in its fruit. The gardener, in contrast, seems to think that the tree is a living and valuable thing regardless of no fruit.
I cannot help but think of all of those people in the world that I encounter who claim to "love God" but have no association with God's values, God's son and God's church. I guess it's like the passage from St. James, "Faith without works is dead". The office it is an interesting thing to consider "good works without faith are valuable". At least those good works contribute to the benefit and the blessing of community.
I think in this year of mercy we might apply this teaching to the two features of God's mercy. One who relies upon and claims to have received the mercy of God for his sins and healing but does not show Mercy to others may very well have not authentically experienced the mercy of God in his heart. This would be the point underlying the Lords prayer "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others." So that if I am not forgiving others in my life I cannot claim and am not experiencing true forgiveness of God for my sins.
So the Christian who is not demonstrating the works of mercy in their life may very likely be considered a barren tree. In fact, we might be able to say that the faith of such a fruitless or merciless person has no value before God or within the Church. Such a one is dead. Remember the parable of the final judgment in Matthew 25, those who have not shown mercy to the least of my brothers and sisters will go off to eternal punishment.
What do you think?