12th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 2 Kngs 22:8-13; 23:1-3
The high priest Hilkiah informed the scribe Shaphan, “I have found the book of the law in the temple of the LORD.” Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, who read it. Then the scribe Shaphan went to the king and reported, “Your servants have smelted down the metals available in the temple and have consigned them to the master workmen in the temple of the LORD.”The scribe Shaphan also informed the king that the priest Hilkiah had given him a book, and then read it aloud to the king.When the king heard the contents of the book of the law, he tore his garments and issued this command to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, son of Shaphan, Achbor, son of Micaiah, the scribe Shaphan, and the king’s servant Asaiah: “Go, consult the LORD for me, for the people, for all Judah, about the stipulations of this book that has been found, for the anger of the LORD has been set furiously ablaze against us, because our fathers did not obey the stipulations of this book, nor fulfill our written obligations.” The king then had all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned together before him. The king went up to the temple of the LORD with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: priests, prophets, and all the people, small and great. He had the entire contents of the book of the covenant that had been found in the temple of the LORD, read out to them. Standing by the column, the king made a covenant before the LORD that they would follow him and observe his ordinances, statutes and decrees with their whole hearts and souls, thus reviving the terms of the covenant which were written in this book. And all the people stood as participants in the covenant.
Gospel: Mt 7:15-20
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 thornbushes, 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.”
A TREE IS KNOWN BY ITS FRUITS: Here is a Russian story, also found in other traditions: A scorpion, which cannot swim, asks a frog to carry it across a river on the frog’s back. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung by the scorpion, but the scorpion argues that if it did that, they would both drown. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to transport the scorpion. Midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung despite knowing the consequence, to which the scorpion replies: “I couldn’t help it. It’s in my nature.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus asks us to groom our nature in such a way that we will act according to the values of the Kingdom of God.
Prayer. Lord, may I have my roots deep in you so that my fruits will be of grace.