“Let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good” Luke 13:8
In today’s gospel we hear the parable of the fig tree. Here is this tree that hasn’t produced fruit in three years. Now, I’m no master gardener, but I get a pretty decent harvest from my little backyard vegetable patch. And if I had a plant that wasn’t producing any fruit, I would get rid of it without a second thought, and make room for something that would yield a harvest. But the gardener in this parable is patient and merciful. He’s going to put in time and energy to give that tree one more chance.
Sometimes it’s easy to think of God as a God of wrath, just waiting for me to make a mistake so that He can give me the condemnation that I deserve. But this is not an accurate image of our Lord.
Our Lord is “rich in mercy” Eph 2:4
He is “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Ps 86:15
He is a God who “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4
And “from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16
The image of mercy found in today’s gospel brings me to my knees in humble gratitude. I know that the soil of my heart can be hard and rocky. I know I go through times of barrenness, where my soul is dried up, and I have no fruit to show. I am so thankful that during those times Jesus has not given up on me, rather He has tended to my heart, so gently and so lovingly, bringing the grace and healing that I need.
Are you going through a spiritual drought today? Come to the fountain that is Jesus Christ. Come to Him in Scripture, come to Him in the sacraments, that you may receive “grace upon grace.”
Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, knitter, gardener and convert to the Catholic faith. Read more about her here.