May 29, 2015
Friday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time
Sir 44:1, 9-13,
Mass Readings: Text | Audio
Regular Cleansing Is Indispensable
Jesus and his disciples had a solemn entry into the city of Jerusalem escorted by women and children shouting ‘Hosanna’ to him. It said that he straight away went to the temple area. “He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” This gives a slight hint to the intention of Jesus. We are told that Jesus looked around and saw all that was going on there but since it was too late he withdrew to Bethany, a nearby village. It seems that nobody offered him breakfast and therefore he had to search for figs on his way back to Jerusalem. The Evangelist makes it very clear that the fig tree was in leaf and it was not the season of fruits. Still Jesus who was hungry hoped that he could find at least some fruits to satiate his hunger. But there was none. Jesus cursed the tree, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” and it withered. The biblical scholars have come up with various explanations to clarify and justify the action of Jesus. According to them the fig tree is a symbol of Israel or the temple of Jerusalem, which was flourishing in business yet failing in its purpose or goal.
The selection of Israel had a purpose and the erection of the temple had a motive. However, Israel became a self-engrossed, self-preoccupied, self-catering group of people. When Abraham was chosen the task assigned to him was to be a blessing for others. Unfortunately, his descendents instead of being a blessing; turned out to be a threat and curse to others. The temple was meant to be a place of divine-human encounter. However, slowly it turned out to be a market place where big business was going on. In the case of both individuals and institutions, as in the time of Jesus even today a regular cleansing is indispensable. Even if the call and the goal are genuine, thanks to our human weakness and situational enticements various sorts of business can replace the original purpose and passion. If not a whip at least a broom is essential for an occasional cleansing.
Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI