Just a bit of a reflection on the words of Jesus in the parable he gives us in today's gospel.
Jesus mentions a fig tree that is found barren without fruit. In fact, three years the owner waits for fruit and finds the tree wanting. So he decides to cut it down but the gardener begs for a stay of execution. He ask for leniency that he might work with the tree and cultivate it that perhaps it might yet bear fruit. The owner in his mercy gives in to the request and the tree lives to see another day. However, a verdict has been given that strikes a chord with all of us, "It may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down."
The fig tree is type of each of us. We have been planted. We have been cultivate and nourished. God waits patiently for the fruit to be born in our lives and our world. The fruit is what St Paul describes in Galatians chapter 5: fruits of the spirit-love, patience, peace, joy, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control.
God is kind and merciful and he offers his grace to us daily. However, the window of opportunity for us is always shrinking. There is a practical limit to the time we have to respond to the grace of God simply because our earthly life has a limit, we do not live on earth forever.
Each of us are given our own time.
This past friday we had two gentleman pass into eternal life. The first gentleman was 84 years old. He lived a long life dedicated in service to family and community. He was exceptional. We all hope to have that many years and perhaps more. I got the call of his death around 6 am Friday morning.
At noon I was called to the bedside of a gentleman in the local nursing home. I assumed he was also an older man of experience and life. To my surprise, upon walking into the room, i discovered the man was my age, with two small children, 12 and 8 years old. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor some weeks ago and there was nothing more to be done.
We each are given time. We know not how much. Each moment that passes shrinks the window of opportunity to receive the grace of God in such a manner that we become filled with his radiance and allow that radiance to shine outward by the life we live.
At some point we we will all be cut down and the time to bear fruit would have past us by. Let us not wait. There is a sense of urgency laid at our feet. Opportunities come our way, grace is offered and the invitation is there for our taking.
Jump at it. Embrace it. God will guide the rest, he just waits for us to give him our heart.