Father John Doyle, LC
Jesus entered Jerusalem and went
into the Temple; and when he had looked around at
everything, as it was already late, he went out to
Bethany with the Twelve. On the following day, when they
came from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance
a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether
perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came
to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was
not the season for figs. He said to it, "May
no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his
disciples heard it. Then they came to Jerusalem. And he
entered the Temple and began to drive out those who
were selling and those who were buying in the Temple,
and he overturned the tables of the money changers and
the seats of those who sold doves; and he would
not allow anyone to carry anything through the Temple. He
was teaching and saying, "Is it not written, ´My house
shall be called a house of prayer for all the
nations´? But you have made it a den of robbers."
And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it,
they kept looking for a way to kill him; for
they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was
spellbound by his teaching. And when evening came, Jesus and
his disciples went out of the city. In the morning
as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered
away to its roots. Then Peter remembered and said to
him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has
withered." Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God. Truly I
tell you, if you say to this mountain, ´Be taken
up and thrown into the sea,´ and if you do
not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you
say will come to pass, it will be done for
you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in
prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will
be yours. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have
anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may
also forgive you your trespasses."
Introductory Prayer: Once again, Lord, I
come to you to pray. Even though I cannot see
you, I trust that you are present and want very
much to instruct me in your teachings. In the same
way you demonstrate your love me by spending this time
with me, I want to express my love for you
by dedicating this time with you in a spirit of
faith, confidence and attention. Here I am, Lord, to listen
to you and respond with love.
Petition: Lord Jesus help me
to learn how to unite prayer and action.
and the Fig Tree: We witness Jesus withering a barren
fig tree right down to its roots even though he
knows that it is not the time for harvesting figs.
Jesus never worked a miracle for himself, so we know
it was not a punishment for not satisfying his hunger.
This event immediately precedes his entering the Temple at Jerusalem
where he expects to find people “busy about his Father’s
affairs.” Instead he finds them occupied in worldly activity, and
often fraudulent and unjust activity at that. The fruits of
honesty and uprightness that Jesus expects to find are simply
not there; so in a sense the fig tree symbolizes
Jerusalem. Am I honest in my dealings with others? Do
I realize that the Lord expects me to bear fruit?
Do I invest my time well, in both prayer and
action, to this end?
- All in a Day’s
Work: This Gospel passage would make for a good documentary
on a day in the life of Christ. He starts
out early from Bethany to Jerusalem, he enters the Temple,
faces the wrath of those there as he cleanses it,
and then teaches for the rest of the day before
returning to Bethany late in the evening. The very next
day he begins his ministry again by teaching on the
importance of faith in prayer. Jesus did not waste a
second of his day; rather, he went about fulfilling his
Father’s will. Still, Jesus was not a busybody. He did
not generally meddle in others’ affairs, but he certainly was
not about to allow worldly activity of a dishonest nature
in his Father’s house. And so he throws the dishonest
merchants out of Temple. Do I use my time well?
Does that include the time I dedicate to prayer? Do
I always act respectfully in God’s house where my Eucharistic
- Praying with Faith: Prayer and action
are intimately tied together. Jesus was right in driving the
moneychangers and animals from the Temple. Certainly we’re not supposed
to busy ourselves with worldly affairs while we’re in church.
But it’s very proper to bring our worries and concerns,
our joys, successes and failures to Christ in prayer. It’s
good for us to ask Our Lord his viewpoint about
our concerns and ask for his grace to continue on.
And when we do set aside time specifically for prayer
to encounter Christ, then we find the strength and desire
to spread his message to others. It’s through prayer that
we’re filled with apostolic zeal. When we dedicate our day
to loving service of God, our day itself becomes a
prayer. Is my prayer the source of interior strength, and
is my action a loving prayer?
Conversation with Christ: My Jesus,
you ask much of me, but you are always at
my side assisting me with your grace and presence. Help
me to use my time wisely on behalf of your
Resolution: I will program in five extra minutes of prayer
today for the sake of serving Christ better.