Ephesians 4:7-16
Luke 13: 1-9


The readings this week seem to swing from dire warnings to words of comfort and encouragement. No doubt a true reflection of daily life and the balance we often struggle to find. Recognising our own gifts and our share of grace, as Paul puts it in the letter to the Ephesians, can be difficult. My first thoughts are often critical, what can be done better, what needs to be fixed, and why isn’t it perfect? Thinking this way doesn’t leave room for the recognition of grace that Paul reminds us we have been given.

The gift to be an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher seems to be the gift given to others and rarely applied to myself. I look for a gift that says ‘follower’ or ‘one of the group’ or ‘small part of the whole,’ and yet Paul seems to indicate service, faith, and knowledge are enough to come to fullness in Christ.

Jesus adds to this challenge with his story of the fig tree and the dilemma of cutting it down or waiting for it to produce fruit. This also begs the question of what does it take to bear fruit? Am I producing fruit in my life or just taking up space in the garden? Am I patient with others, encouraging their gifts and giving them the chance to bear fruit? And am I the same with myself?

Margaret Bentley is a Salesian Sister and is currently the Academic Manager at the English Language Studies for Pastoral Ministry (ELSPM) begun by the Passionists in 2014 to enable their students to learn English before continuing to the Novitiate or theological studies.