Commentary on the Gospel of
It is easy to interpret disasters, natural or manmade, either as a punishment or something that is deserved by those victims. For God, any human suffering or misfortune is unacceptable. It does not originate from him nor he does not take pleasure in it. The second parable of the day go further and explains the first. God has a project and purpose and that is the unending joy of his children. The vine in the biblical sense is the symbol of joy and God’s care for his people.
The tragic death of the Galileans was interpreted to suit their belief and context. Pilate, to quell rebellion, killed some. The Pharisees who indirectly supported Romans thought they deserved to die. The zealots who fought Romans thought those died at Siloam, deserved to die for they were working for Romans. Jesus made it clear that calamities, even man-made atrocities were not God’s punishments for sins. Everyone must die. Jesus did not explain why people must face different kind of death. But he emphasised the need for repentance. St. Paul clearly speaks of the relation between sin and disaster and says, ‘wages of sin is death.’ The disasters in one’s own life and around can be an eye opener towards the need repentance and a spiritual awakening. Does the barren fig tree tell something about our lives as well? The way of life and the way forward is communicated to us in the call of St. Paul: “I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”