Acts 17:15, 22--18:1
Psalm 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
Ever since Paul wrote his epistles there has been a discussion about the relative importance of faith and works, and it seems that Jesus resolves the question here without making a choice between the two. He indicates that works flow as naturally from who and what we are as fruit grows on a tree, both the sort of fruits and their quality.
A question which we might ask ourselves then, in simplicity and honesty, is just what fruits we bear. First, are our lives barren, fruitless, and spiritually futile? That middle path does exist, and the merely secular or material among us live like that on the whole: they are at best polite, educated, and harmless. I think that we can say that each of us does have areas in our lives where we too might be this way.
Or have we taken God's good gifts and made nothing good of them, even using those gifts in ways harmful to others? We need to admit that this is also true of us: as long as we are human we are sinners and fail God, others, and even ourselves.
We must also consider, though, that each of us does have something to offer others in some area. There is some way in which others turn to us, depend on us, and trust themselves to us to be sustained and nourished: these are ways in which we the faith-filled bear God's good fruits (and they really are God's, not ours).
If we can first identify each of these three areas in our lives and
then take appropriate action --- and that includes giving thanks for what
God does accomplish through us --- we are well on the way to responding
to the call Jesus makes in today's gospel reading.
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