A reflection on the Gospel reading for Saturday, October 23, 2010 (Luke 13:1-9) by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB.
In the Gospel today it says, “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?” Jesus is saying, “Why should it deplete what others need to grow?” How do we not deplete things? St. Benedict has the answer is Chapter 72 of his rule which focuses on how to build each other up: “Let the monks practice this zeal with the most ardent love, namely that in honor they forerun one another. Let them bear their infirmities whether of body or mind with the utmost patience. Let them vie with one another in obedience. Let no one follow what he thinks useful to himself, but rather to another. Let them practice fraternal charity with a chaste heart. Let them fear God and love their abbot with a sincere and humble affection. Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ and may He lead us all together to life everlasting.” It’s good to read this chapter over and over again, especially where it says, “Let them bear their infirmities.” We’re all weak. We all bear infirmities of one another; and we all need a good word here and there. That is why St. Benedict, in his rule, says to the cellarer that the best gift is a good word, for a good word will feed your heart.