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March 3, 2019: Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Pastor’s Corner

A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thorn bushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Lk 6:42-45)

There is a story told about the father who is enthusiastic to share his passion of woodworking his son.  The father brings the boy to his shop and proceeds to teach him the names and functions of the various crafting tools.  Hoping to instruct by way of  example, the father sets about choosing, hewing and sanding wood for a stool.  As he is nearing completion of the project by using a finishing hammer, the father asks his son if he is eager to see and test the freshly fashioned stool.  His son replies: “No I am waiting to hear what you will say when you hit your thumb with the hammer.”  

In our gospel this Sunday, Jesus continues his sermon on the plain, which we’ve heard for the past month.  After articulating 4 Beatitudes/Woes and the Golden Rule, Jesus gives a principle for discerning when to know if something or someone is from God or not? Consider the fruit.  This “good fruit” principle applies not only to how we discern God presence in others, but also helps us to reflect on how God wants to bear fruit in us.

Though there are many ways that Spirit is active, one powerful way that we can bear fruit is the way we respond to crisis in our lives.  Naturally enough, during dark moments, our feelings and emotions can lead us to respond in destructive and angry ways.  Yet, no matter the darkness in our lives, we are called to offer to God a sacrifice of praise, acknowledging his presence in our lives.  In the Bible, to offer praise to God when we are struggling is one of the clearest and life-giving ways of “bearing fruit”

This Wednesday, Lent begins.  One way to prepare to for our Lenten journey is to ask ourselves how we bear good fruit.  Can others identify the presence of God in our life? Especially for those of us who profess and live faith, folks look to us to see how we bear fruit in our live.  Especially in difficult moments when we “hit our thumb” and face challenges in our life, people are watching for what we will do and say.  May the Spirit’s fruit of peace and joy be born afresh in all that we do!

~Fr. Michael

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