Gardening with Jesus

I'm a bit out of my element in meditating on Jesus the gardener. Full self-disclosure: when I see the flower bed outside the rectory, I see an ash tray for my cigar. Nevertheless, let me try. Our souls are an orchard and Jesus is the optimistic gardener. At least that's how I interpret the parable of the barren fig tree (cf. Lk 13:1-9).

What are the various "trees" in the orchard that is your life? I'm thinking things like particular relationships, your job, your hobbies, the religious devotions and spiritual reading you do, exercising, social media use, and so on. Is there one tree or a few trees that are not bearing fruit? Use the fruits of the Holy Spirit as your tool to judge. For instance, is your job bringing peace or joy; exercising (if that is a tree) producing modesty or gentleness; using Twitter giving you generosity or self-control? Another way to put it: does this particular thing in your life make you holy? If the answer is no, your tree might be in need of some fertilization.

In the parable, the gardener asks the owner of the vineyard to wait for a year. We don't need to wait that long. Allow our Lord to work over your soul in these remaining days of Lent. Good Friday will be a pivotal day of cultivation. Christ's shovel will be the cross and he will bury it deep into the soil of our souls, the way the wood was embedded in the rocky soil of Calvary. And that barren tree in our life will be raised on Easter Sunday morning. Maybe then we will empathize with Mary Magdalene who mistook Jesus outside the tomb as a gardener.

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