Today is Great and Holy Monday in the Byzantine Rite.
On their way to Jerusalem for Passover, Jesus and His disciples encounter a fig tree. The Lord goes to it to gather them a snack, but the tree bears no fruit. He curses the tree. The Royal Entrance we commemorate with Palms then happens, and straightaway Jesus proceeds to the Temple.
There He finds the money-changers, and I do not want to say Our Savior struck temple defiling thieves with other temple defiling thieves; as the record shows they left before He did, evidently at His strong suggestion accompanied by a whip made of cords, that they shouldn’t “make my Father’s house into a den of vipers”.
The next day, when the disciples pass the tree, they notice it withered and dead.
When we hear the commandments of Christ: to love God with all our being, and to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we do not act in accord with those commandments, when we disregard our prayers and fasting, when we do not keep the Lord’s Name Holy nor His day, when we curse the needy and don’t aid them, when we place our wants before others’ and act like our human selves are more important than God or our fellow man, we are the tree that does not bear fruit worthy of our repentance and baptism.
When our worldly institutions are bent and corrupted to serve the men who administer them rather than embodying the love and doing the good work of God, whether they be the earthly Zion in the time of Jesus or our own Christian churches today, we inherit the curse of the fig tree, that God will withdraw His favor from His creature that doesn’t serve Him to better nurture some other that will.
– Mor Clement