God is Hungry

Jesus was hungry. He looked to a fig tree for some fruits but found none. So, He cursed the fig tree because it had no fruits on it. There was no fruit because it was not the season for bearing fruits. The fig tree withered as a result of Jesus’ curse upon it. Peter asked Jesus about it, and He said three essential things in reply:

* Have Faith in God. With Faith, all things are possible.

* Power of Prayer: “Whatever you ask in prayer (not murmuring or complaining) and ‘believe,’ you will receive.”

*The importance of Forgiveness: “If we don’t forgive, we will not be forgiven.” And by extension, our prayers might not be effective.

Prayer, Faith, and Forgiveness

Our Lord teaches us that Prayer, Faith, and Forgiveness are inseparable. Let us examine our walk with God, and if there is a sense that we don’t see results, we need to reexamine if these things Jesus emphasized today are in place. You hear some people talk about how much Faith they have. Their proof is in the list of religious activities they undertake—church, all kinds of prayers and novenas, donations, bible reading, etc.

These are all good. But is there forgiveness/Mercy on the list? Someone might have offended you. You did not deserve it. But for the Lord to heal you of that hurt, you must make room for Him through Forgiveness. To receive Mercy, we have to give Mercy. And that is why Forgiveness is evidence of godliness. Unforgiveness reflects brute nature, the unredeemed nature, or, put in a better way, the nature yet to receive redemption wrought by Christ. Forgiveness shows that a person is connected to Heaven, for we thrive by the Mercy of God.

One is yet to receive God’s Forgiveness if unwilling to forgive another.

Release the pain of the injury to the wounded Christ by opening your heart to Forgiveness, and you will get better. Forgiveness brings healing, deliverance, joy, and peace, and, most importantly, restores your confidence as a child of God. Now let us turn to why Jesus (who seemed to have gone off on a tangent) used the fig tree event to pass on the above message.

Out-of-Season Fig Tree vs Always-in-season Beings

In the passage about the fig tree, the Scripture makes it clear that it was not the season of the fig tree. No one expects fruits on the fig tree outside of its season. So why did Jesus expect fruits from the fig tree outside of its season? First, God is hungry. Not for food because even if He were to need physical nourishment, He would not need our help (See Ps 50:12-13). However, God remains hungry as long as we remain unsatisfied and unfulfilled. He hungers for our satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. God is our telos, our end. When a loving parent stays up most of the night or all night waiting for his/her son or daughter to return home from a night out with friends, it is because the child is an essential part of the parent’s heart.

When Jesus cursed an out-of-season-fig-tree for not having fruits, He made a point that, unlike trees, we are not “out-of-season” beings. We are an always-in-season beings because God’s blessing is not seasonal. He is always present—the Eternal Now! Hence our fruitfulness results from total dependence on the works of the Holy Spirit, whom the Father and the Son sent to us. Our connection to the Divine Spirit guarantees fruitfulness, results, salvation, contentment, fulfillment, etc. Using the fig tree incident as a teaching moment, our Lord reveals the power He has given us—bearing fruits in-season and out-of-season (See Jer 17:7-8)—and how to access it—Prayer, Faith, and Forgiveness. God is fed by our fruitfulness!

[Readings: Sir 44:1, 9-13; Mk 11:11-26]

Fr. Christian Amah

Fr. Christian Amah is a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. You can reach him at [email protected].

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