In today’s Gospel, Jesus issues a frightening warning to all those gathered around Him. He foretells eternal damnation for those who will not repent. Blood will be spilled. Souls will be condemned by their actions. People will perish. But He does not give His warning without also providing hope.
There is still time. Damnation is not inevitable. After issuing his warning, Jesus provides a parable that offers hope to those listening. He tells the story of a fig tree that would not provide fruit. When the owner of the orchard saw its lack of fruit, he desired to cut it down. But the gardener spoke up on behalf of the plant, asking for one year before the fig tree should be cut down. In that time, the gardener would cultivate the ground and fertilize it, giving the tree the best chance of bearing fruit. If at the end of the year fruit had not been produced, the gardener would cut down the tree.
We are each that fig tree in the parable, and the one year of cultivation is the span of years that we will live on this earth. That is the time that we have to be cultivated and fertilized. That is the time that we have to embrace our salvation. Jesus Christ is our gardener, our defender, but even He must work within the bonds of our allotted time. We must embrace our salvation while it is ours to accept. Once we have passed, there is no turning back. If we have not accepted our salvation by then, it will be too late. We will perish. We will be uprooted and cast away.
We don’t know how many years we have been given, so the time for conversion is now. Jesus Christ has already provided us the means to be saved. We just need to accept it. The ground has been fertilized and cultivated. Christ’s blood and water have been poured out from the cross, watering the ground. He has given us His Word in the Scriptures and His very Body and Blood in the Eucharist. We just need to take and read, take and eat, take and drink, and we will be saved.
Jesus Christ has provided the cultivation of the ground where we grow. Our souls can be fed. Now we must prepare for the harvest. We must bear fruit. We must open ourselves up to God’s Word, repent, and receive the Bread of Life. Christ is preparing us for the harvest. Will you be found ready when the time for reaping comes?
Shannon Whitmore currently lives in northwestern Virginia with her husband, Andrew, and their two children, John and Felicity. When she is not caring for her children, Shannon enjoys writing for her blog, Love in the Little Things, reading fiction, and freelance writing. She has experience serving in the areas of youth ministry, religious education, sacramental preparation, and marriage enrichment.