One of the treats in walking through northern Spain is the ability to walk through vineyards, orchards of almond trees, the olive trees, and my favorite, the fig trees! I never knew fig trees grew along the Camino until one of the pilgrims pointed them out to me. But the figs weren’t ripe and these trees seemed to need water and care.
Today’s gospel tells the parable of the fig tree in the orchard that had no fruit. The owner of the orchard wants to cut it down, but the gardener urges patience. Let the gardener have his way and try to bring life to the tree so that it CAN bear fruit. What a beautiful lesson for us all:
God has patience in our own lives, for oftentimes we are like that fig tree and bear little or no fruit. Why? Our own selfishness and indifference to the Life that IS within us…God, the beautiful Gardener tending the soil of our hearts. God is tilling away, trying to unearth the tangles of weeds and thorns we sow through our sins. God is patient with us; we need to be patient with ourselves. The first metaphor of God in scripture is GARDENER, and the brokenness of humanity begins in a garden. The image of the garden is vital in scripture: Eden in genesis and Gethsemene in the gospels. At the empty tomb, a “gardener ” is present…Jesus??
The Waters of the Spirit are waiting patiently for us to release them, settting them free…setting the waters of the Spirit free to water seeds of kindness, mercy, peace, JOY, and yes, patience in the garden of our souls. Talk about baring good fruit!!! Could I go for a magnificent cucidati, the Italian cookie filled with fresh, juicy figs!! Maybe I’ll make them this Christmas with all those cannolis I never made! I need to start baring fruit!
Buen camino. Fr frank.