Monday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
(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 characteristically mulberries it lack substance. 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 would suggest that it be rooted out and sent to the sea.
We might compare the mulberry tree to depression that casts a pall over most people at times and affects some gravely. Little good can be said of it also. It makes one cynical and anxious as it colors his world grey. It provokes sadness, cynicism and apathy which give rise to thoughts of self-destruction.
A worthwhile question is to what extent a depressed person is responsible for his behavior. Certainly depression will mitigate culpability, but it may be wise not to excuse oneself completely of wrong-doing when depressed. Rather, as Jesus advocates in this gospel reading, we should be as ready to repent of the malice we cause as we are to forgive those who offend us.