A Call to Repentance and The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

March 20, 2022


Sunday Scripture Readings

EX 3:1-8a, 13-15 PS 103: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11 1 COR 10:1-6, 10-12

Explore the Sunday Gospel


LK 13:1-9

9Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!"

And he told them this parable: "There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, 'For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?' He said to him in reply, 'Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'"

See the Appendix for the Scrutiny readings.


meet our extended family

Bl. Niels Steensen (Feast Day September 5)

January 11, 1638-December 5, 1686

Niels Steensen (also known as Nicolas Steno) was born in Denmark and raised in the Lutheran church. He was known among medical professionals and historians. By the time Niels graduated from medical school, it was clear to everyone that Niels was a genius. His gift for understanding and exploring science and biology was evident in his work in anatomical dissection, where he discovered a salivary duct still known today as the Steno’s Gland. In addition to his work in anatomy and physiology, Niels advanced studies in the areas of paleontology, geology, geometry, and crystallography.

At the age of 29, Niels converted to Catholicism. In the face of disapproval from his colleagues, family, and friends, he considered his conversion to be the culmination of his intellectual journey. Niels later attended seminary and was ordained a priest, and later a bishop. He compared his work as a priest and bishop to his work as a physician. Priests are like doctors for the soul, treating spiritual illness by identifying symptoms, causes, and remedies for each individual patient. Niels felt that Jesus was the model for physician and priest alike, as he came to heal the sick, both physically and spiritually. In his role as bishop, Niels worked to uphold the teachings of the Church, to reform the priesthood, and to encourage vocations.


Take time to chat

•In today’s story, Jesus tells us to repent. To repent is to be sorry for something you’ve done wrong. Why is it important to repent?

•What does it take to make a plant grow? What are some things you have to do to take care of it?

•Jesus shares a parable about nurturing a fig tree that is not bearing fruit. What is Jesus teaching us in this parable?

•Bl. Niels Steensen saw the connection between science and faith. God created the universe and everything in it, including the laws of science. How big and powerful must God be todo this?


Recipe of the week

Oatmeal Fig Cookies

Eat this dessert with figs to remind you of the parable in today’s Gospel passage.

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 ½ cups quick cooking oats

¾ cup dried figs, diced

(optional) 10 oz. dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a bowl until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beat well. Combine flour and baking soda, add to butter mixture beating well. Stir in oats, figs, and optional chocolate chips. Using a teaspoon, drop heaping scoops onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake 10to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 1 to 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.


Family Fun

Shadow Art

Using shadow art, consider retelling today’s parable of the fig tree.

Take a disposable cup and cut out the bottom of the cup. Cover the top of the cup tightly with plastic wrap. Using sharpies, draw different shapes, animals, landscapes, etc. on the plastic wrap. Find a clear space on a solid lightly colored wall; if you don’t have one, hang a light-colored sheet or blanket up. Use a flashlight on the bottom of the cup and project your drawn image onto the wall. Tell a story about your different characters or retell the parable of the fig tree in today’s Gospel. Make shadow puppets to interact with your drawings as well.


Other Ideas


Family Prayer

Prayer for Doctors and Nurses

Bl. Niels Steensen cared for people physically and spiritually. Pray today for those who carry out God’s work as doctors and nurses. Pray this prayer as a family, adding the names of doctors and nurses who have helped your family in a special way:

O merciful Father, who have wonderfully fashioned man in your own image, and have made his body to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, sanctify, we pray you, our doctors and nurses and all those whom you have called to study and practice the arts of healing the sick and the prevention of disease and pain. Strengthen them in body and soul, and bless their work, that they may give comfort to those for whose salvation your Son became Man, lived on this earth, healed the sick, and suffered and died on the Cross.

We especially pray for the following doctors and nurses who have helped our family: [insert names here]\We ask all this through Christ our Lord, Amen.(Adapted from https://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=476)

We ask all this through Christ our Lord, Amen.\(Adapted from https://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=476)

(Adapted from https://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=476)

Liturgy Link

Liga a la Liturgia

Purple is the liturgical color for Lent and it represents repentance (turning away from sin). Where do you see purple at Mass today?

Unleashing the Gospel in your Family

Haz Llegar el Evangelioen tu Familia

As a family, go to the sacrament of Reconciliation this week.

¡Datos Interesantes!

Fun Facts!

Text Link

During Lent, those preparing to be baptized at the Easter Vigil participate in three rites called the Scrutinies, which happen on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent. The Scrutinies and the readings for these Masses offer a special chance for personal reflection and self-examination for those preparing for baptism. The scrutiny readings are located in the Appendix of this book.

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