Tony Worner, our Leader of Formation, notes that today is the memorial of John Paul II, and reads from Luke’s Gospel (13: 1-9) in which Jesus tells the people, ‘unless you repent, you too will all perish’.

Tony notes that this text is divided into two: First, the section in regard to the need for repentance; and second, a parable to make the point.

Focussing on the parable of the fig tree, Tony says, the fig tree – us – we cannot grow on our own. We need help. Jesus as the gardener does not leave us unaided. As with the fig tree, he provides us with everything we need to bear fruit.

Tony says, there is an old story which describes Peter at the gates of heaven. The world is ended. The sheep have been separated from the goats; all the faithful have entered heaven and Peter is preparing to close the gates. Then he sees Jesus standing outside. ‘Master,’ he says, ‘what are you doing outside?’ Jesus replies, ‘I’m waiting for Judas.’

Jesus will wait for me, too, beyond the end of time. He’ll continue to give us chances, time to be watered and nurtured. But we can only go to him within time. And he cannot force us to go to him. He stands at the door and knocks. Can I hear his call today? Am I willing to open the door?

Lord, thank you for the lesson of the fruitless fig tree which illustrated the barrenness that comes from a hardened heart. Grant me the humility to ask for help so as I might grow into the best person I can, sharing my fruit with all. Amen.