Memorial of Saint Josephat, bishop and martyr
(Titus 1:1-9; Luke 17:1-6)
The fruit of the mulberry tree is hard to enjoy. It has a taste both sweet and tart, but more objectionably a mulberry lacks substance. Eat one or a hundred and you still feel hungry. What is worse, it stains the hand that picks it and blotches the sidewalk if found on a city street. The mulberry tree gives little shade but sits like a mole on one’s face defying the beauty around it. It is no wonder that Jesus suggests that it be rooted out and sent to the sea.
We might compare eating mulberries to forgiving others of their quirks and bad habits. Both set our teeth on edge. It seems that people should have more control of their actions, yet they can repeatedly make the same offensive remark or commit the same foolish mistake. We want to scream at the perpetrators, but Jesus tells us to be ready to forgive them.
The disciples ask Jesus for an increase of faith to follow his directive. They reason the more they trust God, the more conviction they will have to love others. Jesus assures them, however, that they have enough faith. They have only to get over the self’s feeling abused by others’ mindless actions.