Daily Reflection
June 28th, 2000
Tom Schloemer, S.J.
Career and Academic Planning
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Saint Irenaeus, bishop and martyr - Memorial 
2 Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3
Psalms 119:33-37, 40
Matthew 7:15-20

Jesus was a spellbinding preacher.  We have been moving through the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew during these last three weeks of Ordinary Time.  In this extended discourse, Jesus uses many figures out of his everyday life.

Today Jesus is using the figure of good and bad trees and fruit.  Let us look upon the fruit as our external actions and the trees as our interior dispositions.  Since a sound tree must bear good fruit, how then do we cultivate proper attitudes and dispositions?

We might look at the various areas of life, namely, job and/or school, our living situation—people, place, etc., extended family, social and recreational pursuits.  Sinfulness is not the focus, but rather where are the frustrations, disappointments, anxieties in those areas?  Very simply, what may be bugging me?

Actions are symptomatic.  I may react to these “bugs” by eating too much, drinking too much, smoking too much, acting out sexually.  Obviously, a poor handling of whatever is bugging me can lead to rupture in my relationships with God, others, self.  For example, a person who is frustrated in one’s job may abuse spouse and children.

One’s interior influences the exterior.  A periodic check on frustrations, disappointments, anxieties in the various areas of life may be helpful in recognizing and starting to deal with troublesome areas.  This practice might be likened to the pruning and watering of the tree in Jesus’ figure.  It may be another means to producing good fruit from a sound tree.

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