Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

The Lord looks for fruits

The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry. Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it …. When evening came, they went out of the city. Early in the morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots. Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God”. Mc 11,12-22

Among the many miracles of which the Gospels are rich, this  one of today is a “counter-miracle,” a curse. Because it is the only sign of this kind  which Jesus addresses to us, it means that a great lesson is hidden in this event.  The one  of the dried fig tree is the last miracle of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, so that the  today passage tells us that at some point in time the signs  of the Lord end up and who did not accept the message of the gospel remains sterile. But it also tells us that the message must be received in the concrete facts of the life, in the fruits, not  by words. Some years ago, an Augustinian missionary in Peru, Father Giovanni Salerno, had reported the need to find a family which could house two Peruvian brothers already grown, one of them a little sick. We started to talk about, both in public and in private, and  I did  also an announcement during a broadcast on the gospel of the Sunday, which I was used to make at the radio in those months. Since no one came forward, we wondered if, by chance, the Lord was just asking us to adopt them, although at that time we already had ten children. It was with these thoughts in mind that, in one of those days, I boarded a plane to Saudi Arabia, where I had to go for reasons of my profession. During the flight, after having a look to some of the documents, as I usually did to prepare for the meeting which awaited for me, I had been silently praying to understand what the Lord wanted from us on the fact of that adoption. I  took out the Bible and the Lord made me to open to the today’s song: “The next morning [Jesus] was hungry. Having seen a fig tree, he came over to see if it was possible to find something there, but when he came near, he found nothing but leaves. Turning to the tree he said: “No one eat forever fruits from you”. The next morning, passing by, they saw the fig tree dried up”. On that time I was  quite committed to the evangelization, at the radio and in the prayer groups of the Charismatic Renewal. So, at the end of that passage, I almost jumped up on the seat: “This is the answer  which the Lord gives me! My words are but leaves, if they do not produce the fruits of the works”. I went home, I talked with Anna Maria – who was already cradling, in her heart, the joy of a new adoption – and with our older children. We prayed all together for a long time and some time later Luis and Edgar had already become part of our family.

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