I imagine that Jesus’ triumphal ride through Jerusalem was depleting. In our reading, we witness Jesus’ sudden desire for a fig, and it seems that the strain or hunger of the days before may have pushed the Holy One over an edge. I’ve never cursed a fig tree before, but I’m familiar with the sentiment.
My husband claims I sometimes get “hangry,” a claim I can’t deny. It’s a mix between hungry and angry that it is easily solved with a snack, but often drives me to say and do things I wouldn’t dare otherwise. Despite those around me knowing that I am hangry and less in control of myself, my words and actions still hurt the same as if they came from a well-fed me.
Jesus’ fig tree curse turns a vibrant, leafy, soon-to-produce tree into a withered clump of branches. Using the tree as a parable, Jesus urges his followers to know and believe that their prayers will come true. Our words, our desires and the prayers of our hearts have an impact even when they are spoken from a place of misjudgment (or hunger).
Faithful God, make us attentive to our words and prayers, believing in their power. May we speak love and hope into our weary world. Amen. — AB