The readings for today speak of bearing fruit. We can call this service to one another. This service is “out of the store of goodness”, the Gospel reminds us. Today we hear that we are to be about “holding onto the Word of Life”. In that very relationship with God, the fruit of a tree shows the care it has had. It is that fruit that is meant to be shared and it is that fruit that will benefit more fully the lives of those who are touched, both receiver and giver. We read that the fruit would be greatly tainted if someone was hypocritical or judgmental in focusing on the beam in our sister or brother’s eye.
One of the first rules in my ministry as Pastoral Care Counselor is to focus on the patient and their family member whom I am visiting. What is a person saying or feeling? My visit is about providing a non-threatening and non-judgmental presence. The fruit of such a presence is often inner healing within the patient and within their relationships. This, hopefully, bears the fruit of health not only of mind and spirit but physically as well. And, yes, I taste of the Goodness of God as well!
Our country and our world manifest much sickness. We go through most days seeing and hearing of the disease of racism, violence, greed, deceit and the abuse of power in its many forms. This includes disregard for our Planet Earth. The healing is for God’s Kin-dom to come. It is ours to share the fruit of a healthy relationship with God in prayer, pruning of our lives in repentance, sharing of our lives in loving action. God’s Kin-dom has come, is present, and is to come, in our walk in Faith, Hope and Love manifested in works of Justice and in living as a Community of Life.
Today’s readings are about God’s action in our world- the little and big world. They are about what is beneath the surface in living and producing the fruit of the Works of Mercy, the Beatitudes, and the Commandments to Love God and Love one another in that Love of God. Our responsorial psalm even reminds us that we “shall bear fruit even in old age.” So, happily, there is always the call to service!
And we have Lent, which begins this week to lead us on this journey. Being reminded today to see the beam in our own lives, we can be grateful that we can bear the special fruit of repentance and mercy.
“It is good to give thanks to you, O God.”
Sister Jo-Anne Faillace, OP