But he answered and said to him,
"Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.
And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down".
Luke 13:8-9 (NKJV)
Jesus proposed teachings of absolute depth through the parables. Unlike commented parables, in this case the Gospels do not offer us explanations, but show us how the story is linked to an earlier episode, when news stories had been the subject of questions to the Master: Pilate who had ordered the killing of people who carried out their religious sacrifices; the fall of the tower of Silo, under whose ruins several dozen individuals had died. Episodes similar to those of our days, where daily they are counted dead by the hand of violence, tragedy or natural events. In Jewish culture it was believed that those who perished of violent death or accident were guilty before God and that the events were nothing more than the revelation of divine justice or anyway a consequence of sin, in the wake that "we gather what we sow": Look at Job and his friends' accusations. In the face of these questions Jesus made known to the disciples that this conception did not correspond to truth, recommending them that the only real concern was repentance, without which they would also perish like those people: there is a death that awaits all those who do not repent and who do not become aware of their condition.
To transfer this teaching the Lord told of a fig tree placed in a vineyard entrusted to the wise care of a winedresser. In front of the fact that the fig tree was in its third year when it did not produce fruit, the owner of the land asked the winedresser to cut it. He could simply obey, obeying the master's decision and not putting any scruples about the work he had done so far. Instead, moved deep inside, he proposed an alternative solution: "Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. ...", taking time. The figure of the winedresser can represent, then, all those who in the church (the vineyard of the Lord) have responsibilities towards someone. Responsibility can be any service or task performed for the good of the other, individually and collectively. Usually we tend to charge - perhaps I should say, to discharge - responsibility on the principal ministers, charging them with every solution to any community need. What was the attitude of the winedresser in front of a fig tree that looked good to see but which did not produce fruit? Faced with the temptation of the master who told him to cut it, the Scripture puts before our eyes a pearl, that the Lord's winemakers do not know how to cut, nor do they know how to break down. They do not destroy, but they work for the building up, for the recovery and for the growth of the plants that are in the work of the Lord, indistinctly and in the same way. In addition, the winemaker of the parable appears struck in the intimate by a feeling of revenge: he feels responsible for that tree, he can not pass over it, limiting himself to obeying an order, which does not bring his person into play, but takes away life to one of the trees entrusted to his care. In looking at our vines, how many times as servants or leaders we may feel guilty of having resisted the Spirit on some occasion, opposing our good reasons to a work in contrast with our reasoning. Every fallen tree is a defeat for everyone, for the owner, the winedresser and the tree itself. And that's why our winemaker interceded to expect: "You waited three years, I'll ask you another one". He not only prayed and interceded but also assumed responsibilities.
Weekly Bible reading plan
September 24 Songs of Salomon 4-5; Galatians 3
September 25 Songs of Salomon 6-8; Galatians 4
September 26 Isaiah 1-2; Galatians 5
September 27 Isaiah 3-4; Galatians 6
September 28 Isaiah 5-6; Ephesians 1
September 29 Isaiah 7-8; Ephesians 2
September 30 Isaiah 9-10; Ephesians 3
On September 30, 1452 Johan Gutenberg printed the Bible, the first book to be reproduced in movable type. Without this work, I wonder if we had had the Reformation.