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Daily Catholic Question

Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?

To fully appreciate the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree, we should bear several things in mind.

For one thing, the Old Testament prophets often performed symbolic acts to gain attention and convey their message. Jeremiah, for instance, was ordered to break a potter's flask in Israel's sight, as a symbol of how God will smash Israel (Jeremiah 19).

The Hebrew Scriptures often use figs or the fig tree as a symbol of Israel. In Hosea, for example, we find God saying, "Like grapes in the desert, I found Israel. Like the first fruits of the fig tree in its prime, I considered your fathers" (Hosea 9:10).

The point, then, for the apostles is the fruitlessness of the worship and piety at Jesus' time. Like the fig tree's abundance of green leaves, the activities of the Temple give the impression of religious vitality, but the Temple worship is barren.

Jesus' action, then, is prophetic and symbolic. And in the dark days ahead, the apostles are to recall the power of Jesus' word. They are to continue to have faith in Jesus and act out of faith. Faith in Jesus and the power of their prayer will enable them to overcome all obstacles.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 4/1/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 4/3/2013


James: This James is the brother of John the Evangelist. The two were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had already called another pair of brothers from a similar occupation: Peter and Andrew. “He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him” (Mark 1:19-20). 
<p>James was one of the favored three who had the privilege of witnessing the Transfiguration, the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemani. </p><p>Two incidents in the Gospels describe the temperament of this man and his brother. St. Matthew tells that their mother came (Mark says it was the brothers themselves) to ask that they have the seats of honor (one on the right, one on the left of Jesus) in the kingdom. “Jesus said in reply, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We can’” (Matthew 20:22). Jesus then told them they would indeed drink the cup and share his baptism of pain and death, but that sitting at his right hand or left was not his to give—it “is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:23b). It remained to be seen how long it would take to realize the implications of their confident “We can!” </p><p>The other disciples became indignant at the ambition of James and John. Then Jesus taught them all the lesson of humble service: The purpose of authority is to serve. They are not to impose their will on others, or lord it over them. This is the position of Jesus himself. He was the servant of all; the service imposed on him was the supreme sacrifice of his own life. </p><p>On another occasion, James and John gave evidence that the nickname Jesus gave them—“sons of thunder”—was an apt one. The Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to hated Jerusalem. “When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?’ Jesus turned and rebuked them...” (Luke 9:54-55). </p><p>James was apparently the first of the apostles to be martyred. “About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also” (Acts 12:1-3a). </p><p>This James, sometimes called James the Greater, is not to be confused with James the Lesser (May 3) or with the author of the Letter of James and the leader of the Jerusalem community.</p> American Catholic Blog Walk the talk. Show, don’t tell. Values are caught, not taught—all variations of one theme: A good example is essential for good parenting.

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