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Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

13 November 2021

Reflecting on Mark 13: 24-32

I am a fearful person. I’ve been careful and cautious. The world was certainly ending soon, and I wanted it to hurt as little as possible. Growing up, there were just enough prophets of doom around to keep me in a perpetual state of alarm. Some of their dire predictions have come true over time, but many have not. I confess that I chose fear over faith in every case.

It’s been three spins around the sun since we heard Mark’s terrifying apocalyptic account of the end times, but this time I’m noticing something that was there all along, waiting for me grab hold and reach safety.

It’s this: right after Mark portrays the terrible tribulations—stars falling from the sky, neither the sun nor moon giving any light—Jesus says, “Learn a lesson from the fig tree.” What is the lesson that all fruit-bearing trees have for us?

Check it out, they say. Come in closer. See the leaves that fell last winter? They were stamped down into the earth by rain and snow. The tiny insects came and decomposed the leaves. Some of that was released into the atmosphere, and other parts remained and turned into nourishment for the soil. See those tiny buds? Uh huh. Apples. Peaches. Figs. Just you wait.

Just you wait, friends. Take a lesson from the fig tree. The Divine Plan is never that we should be paralyzed by fear. I get that now. It’s embedded in the DNA of the trees. God intends to give us “a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11).

Oh, and here’s some other good news. The joy-filled Gospel of Luke is right around the corner.

How has a fearful heart stopped you from embracing a life of faith?

Kathy McGovern ©2021

Ordinary Time - Cycle B

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