If you are a nemophilist, dendrologist, tree hugger or love of trees you might find what Jesus does to the fig tree that has no fruit, distressing. “Seeing a fig tree in leaf some distance away, he went to see if he could find any fruit on it, but when he came up to it he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs. And he addressed the fig tree. ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again’ he said.”
He was using this as a metaphor for the temple religion which has lost its sanctity. After cursing the fig tree he went to the temple and “began driving out those who were selling and buying there; he upset the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those who were selling pigeons. Nor would he allow anyone to carry anything through the Temple. And he taught them and said, ‘Does not scripture say: My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples? But you have turned it into a robbers’ den.”
The temple had become a place where innocent pilgrims were exploited through a variety of taxes. It was no longer a house of prayer. As one commentator says “Mark, by weaving together his account of the fig tree and the temple, indicates that the two incidents are to be understood in the light of each other.” In both cases Jesus went somewhere with a hunger or expectation: to the fig tree with a physical hunger. And to the temple with a spiritual hunger for the establishment of God’s reign. Jesus pronounced the end of the fig tree as a sign of the end of the temple that has become a profit centre and an architectural showcase.”
Today let us pray for the Church that we may be always faithful to our mission and never lose our apostolic fruitfulness. We pray that our church here in Canterbury be always a centre of prayer, a place were we come closer to God and where peace is found.