The Unexpected Mercy of God My father was a very patient man. One year he took a peach stone and planted it in a small pot. The first year yielded nothing. The second year – a small stick that really looked dead. He then transplanted that “dead stick” into his garden. He fertilized it, watered it, cared for that “dead stick”. We asked him why spend the energy. Each time, my father said, “Give it another year.” Today, 10 years later, that “dead stick” gives us great peaches. As my father was patient with that “dead stick”, how much more is God patient with us? Our Gospel today gives us the parable of the fig tree. In this parable, Jesus reveals the patience of God with us, despite our slowness to repent, despite our slowness of letting go of our narrowness of life. How merciful God is. This is God’s mercy – to take what is almost dead and coax it to new life! Our Lenten journey, our work of repentance is to turn sinfulness toward God’s transforming mercy. Jesus offers us a challenge – “bear fruit” or “be cut down”. Our encouragement – God is ever patient, God is ever merciful. God does not gives up on us.