9. The dried up fig-tree is a symbol of those people appearing to have a tendency towards goodness, but who in reality produce nothing worthwhile. They are like the preachers who show more brilliance than substance, whose words have a superficial varnish to them in order to please the ear, but which on close examination reveal nothing substantial for the heart, and after having listened to them we ask ourselves of what benefit they have been.
It also symbolizes all those who can be useful but are not; of all utopias, empty orders and doctrines without solid bases. What is most lacking in the majority of cases is true faith, productive faith, the kind of faith which moves the fibres of the heart, in a word, the faith which moves mountains. These people are like trees covered in leaves but devoid of fruits. This is why Jesus condemns them to sterility, for the day will come when they will find themselves dry, even to the roots. This is to say that all orders and doctrines which have produced no good for humanity will be reduced to nothing. That all persons who are deliberately purposeless or idle, because they have not put into action the resources they have brought with them, will be treated as the fig-tree which dried up.