Daily Meditation: "He came looking for fruit on it, but found none"
Gospel text (Lc 13,1-9):
One day some persons told Jesus what had occurred in the Temple: Pilate had Galileans killed and their blood mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus replied, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this? I tell you: no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did. And those eighteen persons in Siloah who were crushed when the tower fell, do you think they were more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? I tell you: no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did".
And Jesus continued with this story, "A man had a fig tree growing in his vine-yard and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none. Then he said to the gardener: ‘Look here, for three years now I have been looking for figs on this tree and I have found none. Cut it down, why should it use up the ground?’. The gardener replied: ‘Leave it one more year, so that I may dig around it and add some fertilizer; and perhaps it will bear fruit from now on. But if it doesn't, you can cut it down".
"He came looking for fruit on it, but found none"
Today, Jesus' words invite us to ponder over the inconveniences of hypocrisy: "A man had a fig tree growing in his vine-yard and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none" (Lk 13:6). The hypocrite makes believe to be what he is not. This lie reaches its apex when one feigns virtue (the moral aspect) but is dissolute and libertine, or feigns devotion (the religious aspect) but only cares about himself and his own interests and not about God. Moral hypocrisy abounds in our world, and religious hypocrisy hurts the Church.
Jesus' invectives against the masters of the Law and the Pharisees —clearer and more direct in other evangelic fragments— are very strong. We cannot help reading them or feeling what we have just felt and read and not remain astounded, unless we have not really understood or listened to its message.
We all have experienced the distance between what we pretend to be and what we actually are. Some politicians are hypocritical when they claim to be serving their country while they are simply using it; security forces can be, when, in the name of public order, they protect crooked and illegal groups; sanitary personnel could also be when, in the name of medicine, they decide to do away with an incipient life or advance the ending of a terminal patient; the media, when they alter the news or pretend to amuse people by corrupting them; administrators of public money, when they divert part of it to their own party or individual pockets, but openly proclaim their honesty; the laity, when they hinder the public dimension of religion in the name of the freedom of conscience; friars, when they live out of their monastic orders, unfaithful to the spirit and demands of their rule; and priests, who live from the altar and do not serve their parishioners with evangelic spirit and abnegation; etc.
Ah! and you and I too, to the extent our conscience may tell us what we are supposed to be doing and we do not do it, and we prefer to see the splinter in the other's eye while we do not even want to realize we have a trunk in our own eyes. Is it not so?
—Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, save us from our hypocrisies, whether be small or great!
+ Fr. Antoni ORIOL i Tataret
(Vic, Barcelona, Spain)
Audio: Saturday 29th in Ordinary Time