Wednesday, June 25, 2014

You must give to get, You must sow the seed, before you can reap the harvest.

"But because many endeavor to get knowledge rather than to live well, they are often deceived and reap little or no benefit from their labor." - Thomas a Kempis (Priest, Monk and Writer)

Gospel Text: (MT 7:15-20)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them.”

I think to understand this gospel we first have to define what fruit is. St. Paul tells us in Galatians that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So another way to ask that question is, “Do the choices we make in our lives produce those things in us, or keep them from growing? Do the things we do to keep busy give us more joy or less? Do they make us more patient? More gentle? More faithful to God and the Church? More loving?”

The Church is not an exclusive community but an inclusive one, so we have to turn that question out. Bearing good fruit not only means what’s happening inside of us, but how that growth affects those outside of us. In other words, to bear good fruit means to live lives that help other people see that they are also branches of the True Vine. Bearing fruit means helping other people come to know the love of Christ through our behaviors and actions toward them. We are the channels, the conduits, the seeds that give life to their faith. And the more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and in control we are around them, the more they will see the fruits of Christ in us.

Remember this - People watch us to see what kind of fruit we’re producing!

But that’s a lot of responsibility, isn’t it? It’s easy for me to stand here and say, “Go be more patient…right now! But you’ll be glad to know that it’s not all up to you. We have God’s grace given to us through the Sacraments (Eucharist and Reconciliation) to strengthen and help us. Do you rely on it or do you solely rely on your self?

Faith is an ever-changing thing. If yours is anything like mine, it doesn’t grow in the same way all the time. Sometimes it grows straight, but sometimes it gets a little loopy and crooked. Every so often we need to prune out old habits or thoughts or attitudes or behaviors so that, through the power of the True Vine, even more fruit will be produced in our lives for the greater glory of God.

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