When we were children and saw someone do something wrong, we couldn’t wait to tell on them. Tattle tale, snitch, a whistle blower are the labels we used for the big mouth squealers. Unfortunately, the characteristic is not limited to children.
Tattle-talers ran to Jesus to report what they thought was dirt about the Galileans. For some reason, many folks think that in order to build themselves up, they must put others down. Folks say, “I know that I’m a sinner, but I’m not as bad as those people. Presently a lot of fingers are pointed at powerful foreign government leaders who are flexing their political influence. The threat of war is rumored. By the time that news reaches our ears, the facts have been filtered. Who knows where the truth lies? Who is totally aware of what is happening on a world level? Our Holy Father has invited us to pray. He, once again, has asked the intercession of the Blessed Mother to calm the hearts of all who want to resort to violence. Violence is never the answer. The little people are always the ones who suffer the most. Through the centuries people have resorted to violence—often arguing that God was on their side. Imagine that if each side thinks the same way, where does that leave God? Who side will God choose? If we pay attention to the words of Jesus, His directives lead us to non-violence. Our Lord did not retaliate violently to people who crucified Him—from Pilot who condemned Him to the ones who hammered the nails into His hands and feet. “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” His words of forgiveness have withstood the test of time and are relevant to this day. We are starving for forgiveness and are unable to move forward if resentments are in our heart.
Thinking that we are better than others; the feeling that we have been betrayed; wondering who will hurt us next—are all negative sentiments. The air is filled with negative sentiments—like there’s no hope—no tomorrow. A reminder: we’ve been here before. World wars, plagues, famines. Two years ago, the world shut down. There were no cars on the streets, the stores were empty, the churches were closed. There was no vaccine; folks had to die alone in a hospital room; we couldn’t bury the body until weeks later. Whatever dark moments we are experiencing, there is nothing new under the sun. Each day has sufficient grace so that we will not despair. Like the fig tree in the story, we are given another chance.
If we look in the rearview mirror, we are going to see the good and the bad that we’ve done. Our attention focuses on the bad and we disregard the good, which is always more abundant. However, the negative accuses us. The fig tree had not given any fruit, but it still had potential. The gardener saw the potential and interceded, basically saved the tree from being cut. Jesus is our gardener. He knows us completely. We cannot hide anything from Him, although we try. We pretend that He does not see us when we are sinning, but He does. Despite knowing everything about us, Our Lord continues to believe in us. He sees our potential. Jesus forgives the wrong we have done because of His great love. Jesus has no problem forgiving us. The problem is forgiving ourselves. The first and most necessary step is to forgive ourselves. We cannot forgive anyone unless we forgive ourselves first. We know is that we have forgiven ourselves when the wrong we have done will no longer dominate our thoughts. We don’t forget, but our sin does not haunt us. Then we are free to bear fruit. Then we can reach our potential and be the person that God created us to be. We cannot control what happens on the other side of the ocean. But we can control what comes out of our mouth, how we treat each other, our willingness to forgive.
God gives us countless opportunities to bear fruit. We need to be patient with each other as God is patient with us.