THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
The fig tree in the vineyard
It is strange that one should plant a fig tree in a vineyard. It was planted; it was neither accidentally sprouted, nor the owner let it remain among vines out of mercy. It was planted there on purpose! The fig tree was the result of a deliberate choice of the owner.
You are unique, you are planned, and you are planted accordingly!
And God expects something unique from you. Every plant around the tree is producing grapes, but the owner does not expect grapes from that tree. You are not designed to be like everyone else in your group! That you are different is not an excuse for not producing fruits.
Beware of the temptation to be like someone else. You are always surrounded by suggestions to be someone else. Look at the hundreds of advertisements you are bombarded with every day. They invariably suggest to dress alike, to eat like, to walk like, to appear like, and to live like someone else. The celebrities want you like one of their admirers. The political leaders want you to be one of their ardent followers. You could be targeted for being different from the rest. But the loving God wants you to stand tall and sturdy like the only fig tree in a vast vineyard. Our vocation is not to ape others.
St. Paul has articulated it well in 1Cor 12:12 onwards. We are all like parts of a single body, having well-defined roles to serve the body, the Christ. Our vocation is not for uniformity, but for union in Jesus Christ.
Just like you need space to be you, your neighbor needs space to be herself or himself. Don’t judge others for being themselves. The first part of the Gospel reminds us not to judge someone even for the tragic end they received. A tragic end is not a reason to allege a sinful life. Even if someone is sinful, Jesus is asking us to be kind to them and to learn from their mistakes, and to be a better person. Because you are left with too little time to judge others.
This lent reminds you that you have too little time to mess with other matters. Because He is looking for your fruits. You are given too little time to mend your ways. You will not be asked about what others have produced, or if at all they have produced anything at all! Be fruitful the way you are.
Because you are planned and planted to be fruitful!