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The Lesson of the Fig Tree
Friday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the Kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, increase my faith, trust, and love. Grant me true courage in the face of trials.
- The Fig Tree: Figs are valuable for their sustenance in a land like Israel, where summers require that people carefully nourish themselves and hydrate to protect themselves from the heat. Jesus compared the coming of the Kingdom to the maturing of a fig tree. He seemed to be suggesting that, far from being a time of fear, the end-times will arrive at a time of blossoming and fullness. In the Bible, the fig tree appeared in the garden of Eden covering up the shame of Adam and Eve. In the midst of their sinfulness they found protection. Throughout sacred Scriptures, the fig tree symbolizes prosperity, well-being, and security. But these qualities are temporary, until the true protection offered by the Son of God comes.
- Heaven and Earth Will Pass Away: Jesus reminds us of the temporality and fleetingness of this life as he promises a new Heaven and a new earth. The Church teaches in the Catechism that “at the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed (CCC 1042). “Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, ‘new heavens and a new earth.’ It will be the definitive realization of God’s plan to bring under a single head ‘all things in [Christ], things in Heaven and things on earth’” (CCC 1043).
- My Words Will Not Pass Away: Jesus offers us eternal food in his words. He is the eternal Word made flesh. In him and through him we enter into the heavenly Jerusalem. He is the gateway to the new universe, the new heavens and earth where God will dwell fully. Revelation 21:4 promises us that in the heavenly Jerusalem, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to be steadfast in the living of my faith and hope. I want to anticipate, not with fear but with joyful hope, the coming of the new heavens and earth. Grant that I may live fully in the present to make your Kingdom come here on earth as I await our final homeland.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect on how I live with a vision of the world to come. How does this affect my decisions and attitudes in my daily life?
For Further Reflection: The End: A Study of the Book of Revelation.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala and “Nine Days with Mary Magdalene.”
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