Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?
But you have made it a den of robbers.”
And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.
In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The traffic made me late, so I was not really prepared for my morning presentation. Then the headache started. When my friend called complaining that I had not visited in a long time, I said some words that I immediately regretted. I hurt my friend. Did Jesus regret his words to the fig tree? He was clearly having a bad day. What advice would he give us when we are having a bad day? His words at the end of today’s Gospel passage are helpful: “forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance.” Hmm, wish I would have thought of that before attacking my friend. Maybe Jesus knows we can hurt people when we are having a bad day. He certainly is telling us that our thoughts and words and our prayers have power. Power for good, but also for ill. We need to be careful how we use them!
—Fr. Tim Hipskind, S.J. is co-director of the Institute for Leadership and Service, as well as Director of Service Learning at the University of Detroit Mercy. He regularly ministers to Hispanic Catholics in the Detroit area.
Life-giving God,, there are times when I need to speak, and times when I need to be quiet. Give me the wisdom to know the difference and the courage to respond accordingly. “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)Please share the Good Word with your friends!