Sunday, February 28, 2016

“Thoughts are roots; Words are leaves; Actions are fruits! Every successful tree has all working normally!”

“When you assess your own life, consider it with the eye of a gardener.  Underneath the surface lies rich, fertile soil waiting to nurture the  seeds you sow. Even more than you can imagine will grow there if
given a chance.”

Gospel Text: (LK 13:1-9)
Some people told Jesus about the Galileans

whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.

Jesus said to them in reply,

“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way

they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?

By no means!

But I tell you, if you do not repent,

you will all perish as they did!

Or those eighteen people who were killed

when the tower at Siloam fell on them—

do you think they were more guilty

than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?

By no means!

But I tell you, if you do not repent,

you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:

“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,

and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,

he said to the gardener,

‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree

but have found none.

So cut it down.

Why should it exhaust the soil?’

He said to him in reply,

‘Sir, leave it for this year also,

and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;

it may bear fruit in the future.

If not you can cut it down.’”

Many Baptized Christians think that if they do not commit mortal sins, if they're not harming others, then everything is fine in their relationship with God. In other words, if the fig tree is not harming all of the other trees, then everything is okay. Jesus says clearly that those people are mistaken. Likewise are mistaken those who subscribe to a certain minimalism in the faith, that if they basically try to keep most of the commandments, if they show up to Mass, say a few prayers each day, light a candle or two, put some change in the collection basket, the Lord will be satisfied or perhaps even give them a medal. Jesus says otherwise.

The owner of the vineyard is looking for trees that bear fruit!

"What is the fruit God wants?" "How do I bear that fruit?" The fruit God wants consists of acts of self-giving love done for others. This is what Jesus describes in the Sermon on the Mount, " Let your light [the reflection of Christ's light] shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven" (Mt 5:16). We do this by "loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength"(Mk 12:30) and "loving others as Jesus has loved us" (Jn 15:12). This love is more than a wish or good will toward another, but a work, a concrete act of love. There are fruits that we need to come from our spiritual life, that flow from our relationship of love with God. There are also fruits called the spiritual and the corporal works of mercy that we're called to do out of love for God and others, like passing on the faith to children and colleagues, going the extra mile to care for those who need it. Jesus said clearly that when he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, he will separate the dead into two groups like a shepherd separates sheep from goats. To those on his right, to those who are saved, he will say, "Come you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the beginning of the world, for I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty, ... naked, ... ill, ... a stranger, ... in prison ... and you cared for me" (Mt 25:31ff). Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you accursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for I was hungry, ... thirsty, ... naked, ... ill, ... a stranger, ... in prison ... and you did nothing for me."

Jesus didn't give us an exhaustive list of actions, but he did tell us that what we did or failed to do for the least of his brethren, we did or failed to do to him. And on those fruits, or lack thereof, we will be judged.

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