READINGS for 2008-09-13
BEAR THE FRUIT
“For every tree is known by its fruit.” – Luke 6:44
I look up to people and to Christian communities who have served the Lord for many long years. But I’ve also realized that the number of years doesn’t automatically convert to the deepening relationship of a Christian. A tree can keep growing but not bear fruit.
I’ve seen a community grow big only to start losing its members after they lost their personal touch with one another. I’ve witnessed servants who became “superstars” and then they started acting like one! I’ve heard of humble and loving members who’ve become intolerant, impatient, critical and judgmental after learning much about the Lord and gaining a lot of experience from service.
The one-million-peso question to ask is: What fruits have you borne in those years of service? Preachers like me live in an aquarium. People watch us. Because at the end of the day, no matter how powerful our preaching is, no matter how talented or knowledgeable we are, and no matter how many long years we’ve been serving, we are measured by the fruits — our families, our relationships, our character. It’s not an easy job! That’s why we need lots of God’s grace. We need the Holy Spirit that we may bear His fruit.Alvin Barcelona
As we grow deeper in faith are we also growing deeper in love?
Come, Holy Spirit, grant me the grace to bear Your fruit. In Jesus’ name.Amen.
Paul is absolutely clear that in the celebration of the Eucharist, we are dealing with the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. Otherwise, what he says here would have to be taken symbolically and not literally, and this is clearly not his intention. Paul is speaking as strongly as he can here of the unity and communion of the Body of Christ and no other interpretation than a literal one makes any sense.
1 Corinthians 10:14-22
14 My beloved ones, avoid idolatry. 15 I am speaking as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I am saying. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. 18 Look at Israel according to the flesh; are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 So what am I saying? That meat sacrificed to idols is anything? Or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I mean that what they sacrifice, [they sacrifice] to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to become participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and also the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons. 22 Or are we provoking the Lord to jealous anger? Are we stronger than he?
P S A L M
Psalm 116:12-13, 17-18
R: To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
12 How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? 13 The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. (R) 17 To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. 18 My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people. (R)
G O S P E L
A life built on the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ has no chance of disappearing in times of struggle, temptation or persecution. If we find ourselves wavering badly in any of these areas of our life, it is time to re-examine the state of our commitment to Jesus in faith. Examine the lives of the martyrs. When we look at the witness of their lives, and possible death is about as extreme as it comes, we see their unflinching attitude to faith. It is obvious that they know their faith in Christ is true and therefore nothing will lead them to renounce it, not even the threat of death.
43 Jesus said to his disciples: “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. 44 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. 45 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. 46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? 47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. 48 That one is like a person 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. 49 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.”
A life built on the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ has no chance of disappearing in times of struggle, temptation or persecution.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Psalm 119
Priests and preachers can surely use some help from today’s saint, St. John Chrysostom, the patron saint of preachers. His very name itself means “golden-mouthed,” referring to his eloquence and skill with the spoken word.
His preaching was simple, practical, and direct-to-the-point. This was true especially when he would courageously confront the excesses of luxury and vanity in the empress at that time. He got into trouble for this, and he was exiled twice.
Jesus in today’s Gospel passage states, “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.”
Thus, whatever flows from our mouths can very well be an indicator of what’s inside our hearts. Here is a surefire test, a foolproof gauge for us all. “For every tree is known by its own fruit.” Can we also consider ourselves “goldenmouthed” like St. John Chrysostom, or foul-mouthed?
And so we are with something which concerns not anymore just priests and preachers, but any Christian for that matter. If we are going to speak or utter anything, we had better be sure that it will all come from the store of goodness in our hearts. Fr. Martin Macasaet
What’s the regular content of your speech? What does it say of your heart?
Let only the good that I hear, read or see be stored in my heart, Lord, so that I may speak only what is good.
St. Amatus, abbot and hermit, pray for us.
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