Fig tree and fruits
Today we have an intriguing gospel reading where Jesus is cursing a fig tree, for not producing the figs, that too in a season which is not the proper for figs.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. (Mark 11, 12–14)
One might wonder, why Jesus was so cruel to that tree. When we see the context, we can realize it’s a symbolic narration, whose meaning is not about the literal fig tree or the act of cursing that tree. It's good to see the context of the passage. 11th chapter of the gospel of Mark starts with the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Hosana, Hosana). The passage of temple cleansing follows the passage of fig tree. So the context is already the beginning of passion.
Fig tree is a symbol of Israel. In some sense, it's saying that the time of Israel is over and the Church takes the place of it. This passage has to be very carefully understood. But it's sad to note that these words were occasionally used to justify the attacks against Jewish communities over the centuries, and it’s definitely not the purpose of Jesus or Bible.
Probably an invitation from this reading for today is to check whether our community produces fruits, produces fruits at all times, and not waiting for some opportune situation (when we are in church or in some favourable environments) to produce fruits.
If I read the passage in the context of this quote, it invites us to produce fruits at all seasons as we have Jesus within. Fruits at all seasons and places will be different, but there is fruit always. A Christian life, in whatever situation, is a mission. And patrons of mission are Francis Xavier (one of the greatest missionary), and Theresa of Child Jesus (one who never left her convent). But both were equally fruitful, in their God-given ways; and fruitful always, at all seasons.