September 16, 2023
by Vivian Amu
St. John's Parish
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
Lectionary: 442

1 Timothy 1:15-17
Psalm 113:1b-2, 3-4, 5 and 6-7
Luke 6:43-49

Praying Ordinary Time

An invitation to make the
Online Retreat

What does it mean to be a good person? I have thought about that question a lot, especially after reading today’s scripture passages. Jesus challenged his disciples to consider this question when he used the metaphor of a tree and its fruits. We know that a tree is healthy when its leaves and fruits are healthy; we can see it. We know that a person has a healthy mind, heart, and soul when they can be kind without expecting something in return and when they can give and receive love. We know that a person has a healthy mind, heart, and soul when they can see the face of God in those around them and do the right thing even when it's difficult. These are all some of the good fruits we can bear as a good person.

Our life, the way we live our life, and the impact we have on our community and others provide testament on our behalf as to the goodness of our person. We cannot simply become good people by our own will; we need the grace of God. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to flourish in our hearts. Our words and actions are the fruits of our hearts. We bear good fruit when our hearts are filled with grace and love. Whatever we feed ourselves with becomes the fruit we bear. If we feed and nourish our hearts and minds with life-giving things, good books, uplifting or soothing music, affirmations, and the word of God, we will act and think in a good way. If we hold grudges in our hearts or feel bitter throughout our day, our response to the world will mirror that harshness. Whatever is happening on the inside manifests on the outside. I try to be a good person, and I hope I bear good fruit. At the end of my days, I wonder whether people would call me a good person and remember me as so.

In the Gospel, Jesus also used the metaphor of building a house. Building our life on a solid foundation means to start with God. It means to build upon our baptism into the body of Christ. So, how solid is the foundation of your faith and your life? How stable are your feet when a flood of challenges bursts against you? Do you remain standing? Are you unshakable? So, how can we build a solid foundation to remain unwavering through life's challenges? We might begin with one thing: to acknowledge that we are sinners treated mercifully by God. We might then be in the right mindset to forgive others and forgive ourselves. We may have a place to begin thinking and acting as the good people we long to be.

God of mercy and compassion,
may our lives be deeply rooted in you
so we may bear good fruits and remain unwavering.

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