A priest was once teaching religious education to children in a Catholic Elementary School. He said, “There are sins of commission and there are sins of omission. The sins of commission are the bad things we do. Now, what are the sins of omission?” One of the children answered, “The sins of omission are the bad things we forget to do.”
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus presents the parable of a fig tree that does not bear fruits. He says that when the owner of the land comes to get fruits from the tree and finds none, his first decision will be to cut it down for there is no need for the tree to keep taking up nutrients if it is not bearing fruits. The gardener will beg him to give one more year to enable him add more fertilizer and if after that, it does not bear fruits, then the owner will be justified to cut it down.
The fig tree is planted primarily for the purpose of bearing fruits. The fruits are not consumed by the tree but by human beings. As Christians, we have been planted by God as fig trees for the purpose of bearing fruits to help others. Of what benefit is the fruit if it is not enjoyed by others? Of what benefit is your smile if no one sees it? Of what benefit is your hug if not given to others? Of what benefit is your wealth if there are poor people all around you? Of what benefit is your voice if no one hears it? You have been blessed to bless!
In the season of Lent, we observe in a very intentional way, Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Prayer and fasting are like the tree while almsgiving is the fruit. When we fast, it is not for us to keep what we saved in our bank accounts but to share what we fasted from with those who are hungry. When we abstain from legitimate pleasures like social media, the fruit is for us to share the time saved with the lonely including family members we have not had time for in the past. When we pray, the fruit of our prayers is to be shown in our relationship with our neighbors. In prayer we look at God. The one we look at determines what we look like. If we truly pray to God and look at God in prayer, then we must look like God in our relationship with our neighbors. Moses looked at God in the burning bush in today’s first reading, he will henceforth become the face of God to God’s people. Sometimes we fail to help others because we are waiting for the perfect chance. In Matthew 25:31ff, Jesus shows us what will happen on the judgment day; the greatest regrets of the damned will not be about the bad things done but the good things they failed to do (the sins of omission), “…for when I was hungry you did not feed me…”. Each new day is a fresh opportunity for us to bear fruits and do something good for others. Since we are not sure of which new day will be our last chance, if you have something good to do, better do it now!