Day 159: Bearing Fruit

Mark 11:1-11 Jesus, who knowingly came to Jerusalem to face his suffering and Death, received a royal welcome as the Messiah. (CCC 528, 2616, 2667)

Ch 11:7 This fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah:

“Behold, your king comes to you;

Triumphant and victorious is he,

Humble and riding on a donkey, 

On a colt the foal of a donkey” (Zec 9:9)

Ch 11:22-25 The story of the fig tree stresses the need to bear fruit even if it is not the season. If we have complete trust in God and do our part, our prayers will occasion great miracles in the work of evangelization. Christ also calls his followers to forgive the offenses of others as a condition for worthy and effective prayer. God our Father will forgive our own sins to the extent we forgive others. (CCC 2607, 2610, 2805)

Ch 11:17 House of prayer: The parish church, like the Temple of old, is the proper place for communal worship. It is also the place for adoration of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It is also appropriate to have a place in the home that is conducive to prayer and meditation. (CCC 2691, 2696)

Ch 11:25 God forgives our own sins to the extent we forgive others. Christ called upon his followers to forgive the offenses of others before praying. 

Stand praying: Jews traditionally stand when they pray as a sign of respect. (CCC 2646, 2840-2841)

Ch 11:25 Other ancient authorities add verse 26: “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Ch 11:27-33 Christ was willing to engage people in dialogue to instruct them, but the chief priests, scribes, and elders in this passage were not looking for answers but for a way to entrap him. He put to them a question that they could not answer without revealing their malice and bad faith. Good-faith dialogue is a necessary part of the Church’s ongoing mission of evangelization. (CCC 856)

Ch 12:1-12 The Parable of the Wicked Tenants is an allegory of the history of salvation. God, as Creator, is the owner of the vineyard, and the chosen people are the tenants charged with harvesting the fruits of the earth. The servants are the prophets, whom the tenants rejected, beat, and sometimes killed. The owner finally sent his own son, who represents Christ, and he was also killed. The owner evicted the hostile tenants and found others who would do his will. 

This was the Lord’s doing: Christ’s quote of Psalm 118 reveals that even the acts of humanity in rejecting Christ are part of God’s plan of redemption. The psalm was a popular chant for pilgrims coming to Jerusalem for Passover. (CCC 311-313, 324)

Ch 12:13-17 Another question set as a trap for Christ: Paying the tax to an oppressor could be seen as a betrayal of the Jewish people, while not paying the tax would incur the wrath of the Romans. Christ’s answer sets forth the proper relationship between persons of faith and the civil authority: Fulfill your obligations to the state unless they conflict with your obligations to God, who is Lord above all.

Whose likeness: Christ’s word recalls the “image and likeness’ of God imprinted on every soul (Gn 1:26). While Caesar’s likeness is on the coin, God’s own image and likeness is reflected on the human person. We pay taxes to Caesar, but we must give our VERY SELVES to God. (CCC 450, 2244-2246, 2420-2425)

Ch 12:18-27 The Levitical law stated that if a married man should die before his wife had borne him a son, the man’s brother had to marry his widow so as to have a male child and continue the family name. The hypothetical example offered by the Sadducees took this teaching to a ridiculous extreme in order to entrap Christ. On earth, marriage reflects the spousal love of Christ and his Bride, the Church. In Heaven, given the exalted love in seeing God face to face, there will be no marriage in the earthly sense of the word. (CCC 574, 1619)

Ch 12:24-27 Christ reproached the Sadducees for denying the resurrection. 

He is not God of the dead, but of the living: Belief in the Resurrection of Christ is at the core of the Catholic Faith. (CCC 993)

Ch 12:28-34 A scribe presented Christ with an honest question about which commandment was the greatest. Knowing his sincerity, Christ explained how the first and Greatest Commandment, which is stated plainly in the traditional Jewish prayer Shema, summarizes all the prophetic teachings on the revealed laws of God. Abiding by this commandment includes fidelity to the rest of the commandments. (CCC 575)

Ch 12:29-31 The Holy Trinity-three divine Persons in one God-is a mystery of faith that in no way challenges the monotheism of the Jews. The Old Testament contains many prophecies and figures in preparation for the New Covenant of Christ. The Old Testament forms part of Divine Revelation and was endorsed as such by Christ who came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill and complete it. (CCC 129, 202, 228-231, 2196)

Ch 12:35-37 Christ posed the riddle of Psalm 110 as a way of stating that he is both FULLY GOD and FULLY MAN, both the Son of God (and thus the God of David) and the Son of David (and thus a direct human descendant). Previously, he reminded his listeners that they must love “the one Lord” with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength; here he affirmed that he himself is the Lord. (CCC 202)

Ch 12:38-40 Christ criticized the hypocrisy of some of the scribes, who acted out of self-serving motives rather than a desire to give glory to God. After death, Christ will judge our thoughts, motivations, attitudes, and deeds. In light of this Particular Judgement as well as the Final Judgement at the end of time, it is important that all of our thoughts and actions are based upon the love of God and the love of neighbor. (CCC 678)

Ch 12:41-44 Christ noted that the widow with the two coins, though objectively giving a small amount, had in reality given an enormous amount since it was all that she had. The wealthier people, although giving larger amounts of money, did so from their excess without real sacrifice or the total gift of self. (CCC 2443-2446)

Psalm 67 Psalms 65-68 reflect the hope that all people might come to worship the God of Israel. Witnessing and learning of the mighty works of God show that the God of Israel is the one true God and, therefore, the source of all power and salvation. God’s blessing on Israel is reflected in the fertility of both their harvests and the Chosen People themselves, who have truly grown into a “great nation.” The Church Fathers applied the verses describing the fruitfulness of the earth to Mary, who gave birth to Christ, the Son of God. For this reason, this psalm is prayed at mass on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audiences, October 9, 2002; November 17, 2004)

It is the will of God that everyone obtain salvation, so it is very important to pray for specific individuals as well as for people in general for the fulfillment of this intention. The existence of Heaven and Hell are clearly revealed in Sacred Scripture and in the teachings of the Church. The Church does not know how many souls are in Heaven or Hell since God is INFINITELY MERCIFUL AND JUST. (CCC 74, 1058, 2822)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven you have blessed us. Lord, every single day you give us the blessing of a new day. Every single day you give us the blessing of your mercy. Your mercies are new every single morning, Lord God. And you give us a new day every single morning. A new day to honor you, a new day to know you better, a new day to let you love us, and that is, Lord God, it all comes down to this. It all comes down to: will we let you love us? Will we let you be the Lord of our lives? Will we allow ourselves to reveal your image? And will we receive your inscription upon our hearts, that we love you with everything we have and everything we are and love our neighbors as ourselves? Lord God, help us first to be loved as fully as we possibly can by you. Help us to give you permission, once again, to love us this morning, to forgive us this morning, and to give us your Grace. Help us to give you the permission to claim us as yours. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

Dustin's Insights 

Mk. 12:

My Study Color Code

Suffering, Martyrdom Places The Church, Sacraments, Divinity Horticultural Imagery People Messianic Kingship Sin, Death, Decay