For Sunday, September 10th, 2022
Jesus said to his disciples: “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 thornbushes, 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.
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.” Luke 6:43-49
Out of his sheer goodness, God created all things to participate in his divine life. He created different levels of being or whatness. For example, he made rocks, plants, animals, men, and angels. We know plants are greater than rocks since they can grow and are alive. Animals are greater than plants since they can move and act instinctively. Men are greater than animals because they are rational with the ability to know and love. And angels are greater than men since they are pure spiritual beings not restricted to space and time in the same way that man is. But the last two—angels and men—have something in common. They are both self-determining. Both angels and men are able to know things. Men understand things through their senses. Through images. To understand today’s Scripture passage, we will explore the images Jesus uses.
Have you ever tasted a fig? We are not talking about fig cookies; we are talking about actual figs. They can be eaten fresh or dried, made into jams, or eaten as deserts. They grow in tropic countries closer to the equator, and they are delicious. Likewise, grapes are very similar. They can be eaten plain, dried into raisins, or made into various types of wine. Hopefully, our souls are like these fruit-producing trees. Like the Psalmist says: Blessed is the man whose joy is the law of the Lord (see Psalms 1:1-2)… “He is like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever he does prospers” (Psalms 1:3).
What is your heart full of? When you speak, do people encounter a heart full of pornography, video games, movies, or sports? Or do they encounter a heart burning with love for the Word of God? The world needs more holy men and less selfish boys. It needs more men who are filled with the Fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Finally, have you or a close friend ever experienced a hurricane or a flood? It is an awesome, terrifying thing to behold. Even if you have only seen something like this on the news, you know that water is a powerful force and can easily destroy anything in its path. But think of it on a spiritual level: if we trust in the rock of Christ and depend on him for everything, we cannot be overcome by anything of this world. Think of the example of Noah—that was a man who listened to the Word of God and acted on it. Scripture says, “By faith Noah, warned about what was not yet seen, with reverence built an ark for the salvation of his household. Through this he condemned the world and inherited the righteousness that comes through faith” (Hebrews 11:7; see Genesis 6:8-22).
In your time of prayer, reflection on the idea of being a good tree—being the kind of man who will bear good fruit. Be honest with yourself and examine your life. In what areas of your life have you born good fruit? What caused this? In what areas of your life have you born bad fruit? What caused this? Think of one good fruit you can bear, and find a way to be a good tree.
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