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A tree known by its fruit; the two foundations

Gospel Reading: Lk 6:1-5
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 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. 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.”

Jesus’ ethical priorities indicate that we are what we produce, especially when it comes to what we say. The mouth is the litmus test of who we are spiritually. If we evaluate the character and tone of our daily speech, will it register like acid on litmus paper or yield the sweet presence of a person secure in God’s care? As James testifies, we need to learn how to control the tongue (cf Jas 3:1-12). Only the mature can do so. In the end, the issue of our loyalty as disciples comes down to responding to Jesus in terms of what we do.

His rebuke to those who call him, “Lord, Lord,” but ignore what he says, indicates just how seriously he takes concrete response. In fact, a biblical text or an exhortation from Jesus is not really understood until it is applied. The disciple who responds to Jesus and does what he calls for is able to stand up to the harsh realities of life in a fallen world. The disciple who learns to see and act in the world as Jesus calls the disciple to do is able to face the floods, that is, the disappointments and injuries that life brings. In contrast, to ignore his teaching is to be set up to suffer a tragic loss.

Jesus constantly challenges us to grow in him. By doing so, we will produce fruits by his grace.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.