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Monday, April 26, 2021

A Fruitful or a Fruitless Holy Week?

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin (1807-1869)

Jesus said to the fig tree: "Let no fruit grow on you ever again" (Matt. 21:19).

Once, on this day in the morning, Jesus Christ with His disciples was returning from Bethany to Jerusalem. Continuing His path, He was hungry, and therefore, seeing a fig tree standing not far from the road, He approached it and, finding nothing on it but leaves, said: "Let no fruit grow on you ever again!" The fig tree then immediately withered.

Christian listeners! And we, like a fig tree, must bear the fruits of good deeds. The Lord always expects these fruits from us, but He especially expects them from us in these days.

And when is it especially for us to bear the fruits of good deeds, if not in these days? Behold, now is a favorable time, behold, now are the days of salvation! Will we, sinners, be merry even when the Lord Jesus Christ wept for our sins? Shall we not pray and stay awake even when the Lord watched and prayed for us? Will we not shed tears of contrition even when the Lord shed His Blood for us? Can we spare our health even when the Lord did not spare His life for us? Are we really going to drink and eat deliciously in those days when the Lord was given as a drink vinegar mixed with gall?

Ah, listeners! If even today we do not bear the fruits of repentance, what fruits can be expected from us at other times of the year? If we do not pray, fast and repent in these days, when the sun was darkened, the earth trembled and stones disintegrated at the sight of the Lord who suffered for our sins, then what prayer, what fasting, what repentance of sins are to be expected from us on other days, when the sun shines and the earth blooms and everyone rejoices?

So, listeners, those who in these days do not bear the fruits of repentance, from them throughout the year also you can hardly expect them. What can you expect from a tree that doesn't turn green even in spring? There is nothing good to be expected from that Christian who even in the week of the Passion of the Lord does not pray, does not fast, does not repent, does not want to remember sins when everything reminds him of them. Amen.
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