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The Lesson of the Fig Tree
Jesus told his disciples a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.’
Jesus said: Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
For three years Jesus, the Son of God, walked this earth. During that time he taught, he preached, he worked wondrous signs and he healed the sick. Much of what Jesus did and said caused controversy because it flew in the face of a centuries-old tradition that had been created by successive generations of religious teachers. Those ancient traditions were not necessarily developed in any spirit other than doing the best for God. However, as time went by, and as they became increasingly complex and onerous, those traditions turned into an impenetrable barrier that stood between humanity and God.
Our scriptures comprise approximately 750,000 words inspired by God. They give us God’s law, as well as the history of early Judaism (the foundation of our Christian faith). They give prophecy and wisdom, early doctrinal teaching and an insight into the building of the early Church. And, of course, the words of scripture give us an account of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension. Throughout our reading of scripture we are urged to read, to pray and to do. But, we are human beings, and we struggle with such apparent simplicity. We are hard-wired to believe that that which is straightforward cannot be of true value; we like to make things complicated. But, the truth is that reading, praying and doing according to the word of God is hard enough. We do not need to make it any more convoluted than that. That reading, praying and doing is a life-long mission in its own right.
Today Jesus reminds us of the permanency of his words … they will not pass away. Jesus’ words are fixed for the whole of time because they are the words of perfection, a perfection which cannot be improved upon by our puny intellects, whims and fancies. Today’s reading reminds us that we should never let up in responding to God’s call to follow the signs and teachings we have been given in the words of scripture. Today we are being reminded of the constant need to dust down those bibles and read them regularly; to pray the words of scripture in order that they might become the root of all we say and think; to use the inspired word of God as the blueprint by which we live out every day of our lives, now and to the end of time.