Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”
And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”
The parable of the non-fruit-bearing fig tree expresses the fate of those who do not repent. Even though God gives us all that we ask for, we still need to “cultivate and fertilize” our spiritual lives. We “grumble” our way through life—we judge others and fail to keep promises we’ve made at baptism and confirmation. Jesus is clear in his message: “bear fruit” or be “cut down.”
The “fertilizer” is the charity, fasting, and prayer of our Christian penance. Repentance “cultivates” the soil so we can bear fruit. It changes our minds, lets go of the narrowness of our own perception of how our lives should be and embraces God’s plan for salvation.
This scripture passage tells us that God waits everyday of our lives for us to bear fruit.