Gospel Reflection

Bushes, trees and soil figure prominently in the Scriptures we
hear today. There is the burning bush that grows on holy
ground, and of course we hear Jesus’ puzzling parable of the
fig tree. Metaphors about growth and “plant” words are some
of our favorite ways of describing our lives. We know what
someone means when they say they are “putting down roots,”
or when we describe our children as “growing like weeds.”
Although we do not live in quite the same agrarian setting as
did Jesus, we still know what he means when the Scriptures
speak to us using expressions and images that are about trees
and soil.
Think for a moment about our lives as Christians. Our lives
contain elements of the burning bush, the holy ground and
even the fig tree. Take first the captivating image of the burning bush in the first reading. Our lives should be like that burning bush – we are called to be on fire with God’s love. In other
words, we should be radiant with God’s love, a fire that burns
within us. That love – God’s love – should radiate out into the
world through each of us, bringing warmth and light. That fire
should be revealed in how we speak and act – a fire that does
not burn yet which brightens the world.
As we gather here today, let us remember that we are standing
on holy ground. In fact, wherever we stand is holy ground,
because it is ground that has been created by God. Deeper
still, by the ashes of Ash Wednesday, we were reminded that
we are made of that holy ground. We are made by holiness and
we are made for holiness.
Finally, there is Jesus’ parable about the fig tree. In the end, it
is not sufficient for the fig tree to simply be called a fig tree. It
must bear fruit. The same is true of our identity as Christians.
We, too, must bear fruit. Yet we also know that bearing the
fruit of Christian living requires patient tending. We must allow God and others to care for us. We must also exercise
Christ-like care for ourselves and for those around us. We, too,
need nourishment – fertilizer – to energize us, to help us to
grow, to fill us with life. God seeks to provide us with this
nourishment as we gather here at the table of the Eucharist.
As we gather here, God shares with us the food that will see us
through the cold and dark of our Lenten winter. Here God
tends to us, helps us to grow and change in new and holy ways.
Here we are nourished as we make our way to the springtime of Easter.