Bear Good Fruit
June 23, 2021 (readings)
- Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
- Marybeth Harper
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.”
Opening Prayer: Lord help me to deeply embrace your teaching in these lines of Scripture so that, by your grace, I produce only good fruit.
Beware: False prophets have always plagued believers. These days, many succumb to false prophets such as politicians, Hollywood stars, or Instagram influencers. The fruits of these prophets are divisiveness, confusion, loneliness, and disorientation. People look for God on apps like HeadSpace, in meditation closets, or exercise classes, completely missing that God revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Our Lord counseled us to “beware” of these “rotten trees.” Like all false prophets, these lead us away from truth and happiness. If we partake of their fruit, we will not experience the peace and joy Our Lord wants to give us.
Bearing Good Fruit: Jesus said good trees bear good fruit and cannot bear rotten fruit. Spiritually speaking, why is this so? Because good trees are rooted in Christ and fed by the Spirit. They know they owe their existence to God and give glory to him in their goodness. The fruit they bear is the spiritual consequence of a life aligned with God’s will for them. Their fruit is God’s doing, not theirs.
You Will Know Them: If it’s possible to know false prophets by their bad fruit, why are so many people taken in by them? One possibility is that people choose the “low-hanging bad fruit” over the less accessible good fruit. To discern good fruit from bad fruit, we must know Jesus Christ. We have to put some effort into reading, studying, asking questions–in other words, seeking–and praying. As we draw closer to Christ he gives us ways to discern good fruit from bad fruit, and good trees from bad ones. As we grow in holiness, not only do we more easily recognize good fruit, but by his work within us, we bear good fruit of our own, such as forgiveness, humility, chastity, love, mercy, and self-control.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, false prophets abound, and their fruit seems attractive and satisfying. Protect me and those I love from consuming bad fruit. May your presence be so powerful within me that I cannot help but bear good fruit for your glory.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will ardently pray for the leaders in our world who are drawing people away from the Gospel.
For Further Reflection: CCC 1832: The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity.
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