Wednesday 25 February 2015

Friday of Week 8 Year 1

Every once in a while, we come across people who claim that they are disciples or followers of Christ. But the fact is, are such people Christian only in name or are they really living fruitful lives as Christians? We can tell whether a person is really a Christian or not by the kind of fruits the person produces, since a person who is a Christian only in name would more often than not be living a life quite contrary to the values of the Gospel and the ways of Christ. We call such persons hypocrites, since they do not practice what they preach (or neglect or ignore what they learned about the Christian faith) and they do things only for show. Could some of us be guilty in this way?

In the Gospel, we come across Jesus cursing a fig tree which had no figs on it. Some of us may initially wonder whether Jesus was acting irrationally or weird, since the Gospel tells us that Jesus felt hungry and seemed annoyed that He could not find any figs, only leaves, since it was not the season for figs. However, if we look carefully at the text, we would discover that Jesus was actually using symbolic language to mean Israel, especially the scribes and Pharisees, who had so stubbornly held to their ways of doing things and their self-righteous behaviour and attitude, instead of repenting and returning to God's ways. This point was further reinforced when Jesus "went into the Temple and began driving out those who were selling and buying there; he upset the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those who were selling pigeons. Nor would he allow anyone to carry anything through the Temple. And he taught them and said, 'Does not scripture say: My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples? But you have turned it into a robbers' den.'" Instead of changing their ways, the scribes and Pharisees began to plot to get rid of Jesus, because to them, their traditions and customs were more important to them than following God's commandments. The Temple had become a place of profiteering and cheating, since buying and selling was being done there and many of those conducting such acts were more interested in making money, and not treating the Temple with proper reverence as the House of God. To make matters worse, the scribes, chief priests and Pharisees had no qualms about allowing such activities to continue and flourish in the Temple.

If we look at ourselves, have we in some way become like the scribes and Pharisees? Have we begun to stick only to our traditions and customs which we have formulated and followed, and set aside God's commandments, which is to love God and love neighbour? What sort of fruits have we really been producing? Have we been like the fig tree, which produces fruit only according to season, and at other times we can behave and do as we please? Let us be mindful, lest we end up like the fig tree, withered to the roots; because of our pride, prejudice, selfishness, lack of forgiveness, and stubbornness; as well as our refusal to truly, consistently and wholeheartedly do all things for the glory of God.

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