How do we ‘measure up’? How often do we catch ourselves ‘measuring’ ourselves or others by what we have accomplished (or have not accomplished)? “I can’t seem to get anything right today!” “What are you doing with your life?” “I have a degree from a renowned university...” “Wow! You really have latest technology?”
On the one hand, nothing is wrong with striving to do our best to accomplish goals in our lives. As humans, we are called to become the better self. But what does that really mean? And whether we have ‘mini’ or major goals, how do we view ourselves or others when/if they aren’t accomplished?
In today’s Gospel’s parable of the fig tree, the orchard owner commands the gardner to cut down the tree since it hasn’t produced fruit in three years. Yet the gardner urges the owner to allow him to tend to the tree’s need of extra cultivation and fertilization so that it might bear future fruit.
What kind of fruit are we called to bear? Is the ‘fruit’ our accomplishments and amount of material goods that we are able to accumulate through life? Does this make our fruit ‘good’?
The first reading from Romans seems to focus on what our lives are really meant to be.: ” For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit,with the things of the spirit....If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through God’s Spirit that dwells in you.”
And God’s Spirit within isn’t something that can be measured or quantified. Rather, God’s presence within each of us is gift in our unique creation as a daughter or son made in God’s image. We are simply called to open to God’s dwelling within us, sit quietly to reflect on the wondrous gift of God’s loving presence and to then go into our day to day lives, living that presence of ‘God’s life and peace’. (Rm.8:6)
So simple, yet challenging in a world that so often emphasizes the deeds and material goods as a sign of success!
May we each find some quiet time to contemplate the call of God within our hearts so that we may rejoice in God’s constant love of each of us. Then we will be able to move back into our day to day world bearing the gifts/fruits of life and peace for ourselves and others.
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