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Day 159 – Bearing Fruit


Thoughts and Reflection

In today’s reading, we learn about the days leading up to Jesus’ betrayal. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem where he will face the final days of his life. Jesus knows he will have to fulfill the scriptures and endure his passion, death, and resurrection. Jesus curses the fig tree and lets the people of Israel know they must live like they are God’s people. It is through them that he will bless the world. The Israelites are like the fig tree, they need to produce the fruit of belonging to God. We also read about the wicked tenants. Here a disciple of Jesus must bear fruit. If he or she doesn’t, then the question is if they are a true disciple of the Lord.

Jesus cleanses the Temple so it can become this Father’s house and be a house of prayer. It is not a space for shopping. Jesus also speaks about the poor widow that gives everything to the Temple while others give out of show. Both our first fruits and final fruits belong to God.

How do you give back to God with your time, treasure, and talent?

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Mark 11

1 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, close by the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples

2 and said to them, ‘Go to the village facing you, and as you enter it you will at once find a tethered colt that no one has yet ridden. Untie it and bring it here.

3 If anyone says to you, “What are you doing?” say, “The Master needs it and will send it back here at once.” ‘

4 They went off and found a colt tethered near a door in the open street. As they untied it,

5 some men standing there said, ‘What are you doing, untying that colt?’

6 They gave the answer Jesus had told them, and the men let them go.

7 Then they took the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on its back, and he mounted it.

8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others greenery which they had cut in the fields.

9 And those who went in front and those who followed were all shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord!

10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of David our father! Hosanna in the highest heavens!’

11 He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple; and when he had surveyed it all, as it was late by now, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

12 Next day as they were leaving Bethany, he felt hungry.

13 Seeing a fig tree in leaf some distance away, he went to see if he could find any fruit on it, but when he came up to it he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs.

14 And he addressed the fig tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard him say this.

15 So they reached Jerusalem and he went into the Temple and began driving out the men selling and buying there; he upset the tables of the money changers and the seats of the dove sellers.

16 Nor would he allow anyone to carry anything through the Temple.

17 And he taught them and said, ‘Does not scripture say: My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples? But you have turned it into a bandits’ den.’

18 This came to the ears of the chief priests and the scribes, and they tried to find some way of doing away with him; they were afraid of him because the people were carried away by his teaching.

19 And when evening came he went out of the city.

20 Next morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered to the roots.

21 Peter remembered. ‘Look, Rabbi,’ he said to Jesus, ‘the fig tree that you cursed has withered away.’

22 Jesus answered, ‘Have faith in God.

23 In truth I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Be pulled up and thrown into the sea,” with no doubt in his heart, but believing that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

24 I tell you, therefore, everything you ask and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours.

25 And when you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, soyour Father in heaven may forgive your failings too.’

26

27 They came to Jerusalem again, and as Jesus was walking in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him,

28 and they said to him, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? Or who gave you authority to act like this?’

29 Jesus said to them, ‘And I will ask you a question, just one; answer me and I will tell you my authority for acting like this.

30 John’s baptism, what was its origin, heavenly or human? Answer me that.’

31 And they argued this way among themselves, ‘If we say heavenly, he will say, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?”

32 But dare we say human?’ — they had the people to fear, for everyone held that John had been a real prophet.

33 So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’

Mark 12

1 He went on to speak to them in parables, ‘A man planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug out a trough for the winepress and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad.

2 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard.

3 But they seized the man, thrashed him and sent him away empty handed.

4 Next he sent another servant to them; him they beat about the head and treated shamefully.

5 And he sent another and him they killed; then a number of others, and they thrashed some and killed the rest.

6 He had still someone left: his beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, “They will respect my son.”

7 But those tenants said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.”

8 So they seized him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.

9 Now what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and make an end of the tenants and give the vineyard to others.

10 Have you not read this text of scripture: The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;

11 this is the Lord’s doing, and we marvel at it ?’

12 And they would have liked to arrest him, because they realised that the parable was aimed at them, but they were afraid of the crowds. So they left him alone and went away.

13 Next they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to catch him out in what he said.

14 These came and said to him, ‘Master, we know that you are an honest man, that you are not afraid of anyone, because human rank means nothing to you, and that you teach the way of God in all honesty. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or not?’ 

15 Recognising their hypocrisy he said to them, ‘Why are you putting me to the test? Hand me a denarius and let me see it.’

16 They handed him one and he said to them, ‘Whose portrait is this? Whose title?’ They said to him, ‘Caesar’s.’

17 Jesus said to them, ‘Pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar — and God what belongs to God.’ And they were amazed at him.

18 Then some Sadducees — who deny that there is a resurrection — came to him and they put this question to him,

19 ‘Master, Moses prescribed for us that if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother.

20 Now there were seven brothers; the first married a wife and then died leaving no children.

21 The second married the widow, and he too died leaving no children; with the third it was the same,

22 and none of the seven left any children. Last of all the woman herself died.

23 Now at the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven?’

24 Jesus said to them, ‘Surely the reason why you are wrong is that you understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God.

25 For when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven.

26 Now about the dead rising again, have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?

27 He is God, not of the dead, but of the living. You are very much mistaken.’

28 One of the scribes who had listened to them debating appreciated that Jesus had given a good answer and put a further question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’

29 Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one, only Lord,

30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.

31 The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’

32 The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true, that he is one and there is no other.

33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.’

34 Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.

35 While teaching in the Temple, Jesus said, ‘How can the scribes maintain that the Christ is the son of David?

36 David himself, moved by the Holy Spirit, said: The Lord declared to my Lord, take your seat at my right hand till I have made your enemies your footstool.

37 David himself calls him Lord; in what way then can he be his son?’ And the great crowd listened to him with delight.

38 In his teaching he said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted respectfully in the market squares,

39 to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets;

40 these are the men who devour the property of widows and for show offer long prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’

41 He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal.

42 A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny.

43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘In truth I tell you, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury;

44 for they have all put in money they could spare, but she in her poverty has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’

Psalm 67

1 [For the choirmaster For strings Psalm Song] May God show kindness and bless us, and make his face shine on us.

2 Then the earth will acknowledge your ways, and all nations your power to save.

3 Let the nations praise you, God, let all the nations praise you.

4 Let the nations rejoice and sing for joy, for you judge the world with justice, you judge the peoples with fairness, you guide the nations on earth.

5 Let the nations praise you, God, let all the nations praise you.

6 The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God has blessed us.

7 May God continue to bless us, and be revered by the whole wide world.


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