This came to my mind when I read today’s readings. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus uses images from nature to talk about how our actions reflect who and what we are. He says that “every tree is known by its own fruit.” Jesus encourages us to look at what is in our mind and heart and then compare it with our actions. Actions are the fruits of our thoughts and desires, motivations and interests, joys, pains, and hurts. But Jesus goes further. He also challenges us to compare what is in our mind and in our heart with his Word. He invites us to listen to him and allow his word to transform our hearts and minds. In other words, he outlines a strategy for us: (1) to listen to his Word, (2) to be transformed by it, and (3) to act in accordance with it. When we follow this strategy then we can be sure that our lives will bear plentiful fruit that can be enjoyed by everyone who is in touch with us!
Well, we all know that in reality it is not so easy and straightforward. There are many distractions in our lives that make it difficult to listen to the Word of God. Often, we face many issues that hinder or slow down being transformed by his Word. Every day we encounter much that prevents us from acting upon God’s Good News. We are like the plants in my backyard. Sometimes we bear good fruits, like the tomatoes and raspberries that are abundant in my garden. Sometimes we do not bear fruit at all, like the broccoli that did not grow at all. Further, all of us bear different fruits, in different quantities, with varying qualities, and at different times. The goal of all of us should be to bear some fruit, but when we bear fruit and what fruits we bear differs from person to person and from time to time.Another example from my backyard came to my mind when pondering about the readings. I planted the pear tree about two years ago. It never really established itself and appeared to be sickly. I was thinking of removing it and planting a new one, but did not do so out of lack of time. Well, this year, the tree was bearing fruit for the first time and I was happy that I did not get rid of the tree. This reminded me on what Paul writes in the first reading of today. He says that Christ came to save sinners, including Paul. In him “Christ Jesus might display all his patience.” Paul says that Christ is patient with him and with us. Christ does not expect us to be perfect, to bear fruit at all times. When we bear rotten fruit or no fruit at all, when we are sinners, then he will forgive us. We should do the same with each other. We should not give up on a friend or relative, a co-worker or a neighbor, a politician or a business partner, who seems to only “bear rotten fruit” and “out of a store of evil produces evil.” We should not give up on them but be patient with them, and patiently present them with God’s Word, hoping and praying that it will transform them and their actions
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