Pope Francis says the parable of the fig tree that isn’t bearing fruit is an invitation to recognize God’s patience, yes, but also to make sure we don’t let ourselves fall into a lazy “oh there’s always next year” attitude.
The gardener who convinces the owner to give the tree another year is a symbol of Jesus, who is always praying for us, and God’s mercy, the pope said.
“All of us need conversion, to take a step forward, and the patience of God, his mercy, accompanies us in this effort.” God is patient despite the “sterility that sometimes marks our existence,” he said.
On the other hand, the Holy Father emphasized, the extra year that is granted by the owner also “indicates the urgency of conversion.”
The possibility of conversion isn’t limitless; that’s why we have to take it right away. Otherwise, we could lose it forever. During this Lent, we can ask: What should I do to grow closer to the Lord, to convert, to “prune” those things that aren’t going well? “Nah, no, I’ll wait till next Lent.” But will you be alive next Lent? Let us think today, each one of us, what should I do with this mercy of God that awaits me and that always pardons? What should I do? We can trust a lot in the mercy of God, but not abuse it. We should not justify spiritual laziness, but instead increase our commitment to respond promptly to this mercy with the sincerity of our hearts.
Nevertheless, Pope Francis recalled, God’s patience means that we must be patient with others as well.
“We should imitate the patience of God who trusts in the capacity of each one of us to ‘get up again’ and begin again on the journey,” he said. “God is a Father, who does not extinguish the smouldering wick, but instead accompanies and cares for the weak.”
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