23rd Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1Cor 10:14-22
My beloved ones, avoid idolatry. I am speaking as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I am saying. 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? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one Body, for we all partake of the one loaf. Look at Israel according to the flesh; are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? So what am I saying? That meat sacrificed to idols is anything? Or that an idol is anything? 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. 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. Or are we provoking the Lord to jealous anger? Are we stronger than him?
Gospel: Lk 6:43-49
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 thorn bushes, 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 man 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.”
CHRIST IN ME: Jesus addresses one of the issues that should bother every Christian; the connection (or disconnect) between what we profess and our way of life. Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? To attain a synchrony between what we profess and our way of life, we need to be solidly founded on Christ the corner stone. It is through the grace of an encounter with the person of Christ that we can become true witnesses to Christ. Only a profound contact with Christ can guarantee a life of authentic witnessing to the values of the kingdom. In that way, the fruits of good works will only be a reflection of Christ, actions that flow not from us but from Christ who lives in us.
Prayer: Lord, grant us the grace of an encounter with you, that we know you and make you known, love you and make you loved.
EVERY TREE IS KNOWN BY ITS FRUITS: There is no good tree that can give bad fruits nor a bad tree that can give good fruits. A person who lives their life keeping in mind the wellbeing of the community, is virtuous. Nevertheless, one who fails to mind God, the community and himself, fails to produce good fruit. In this way he fails to have good deeds. A good heart generates goodness while on the contrary, evil begets evil. It is with this that Jesus says that it is not enough to say, “Lord”. The beautiful things we say about God only get meaning when we do His will. In this way, we make God present in the world. However, words without actions are dead.
FIRM FOUNDATION: How will we know what lies deep down in our souls? We will know from the kind of fruit we produce. If our lives are examples of charity, faith, patience and honesty, we know that our soul is healthy and strong. If our lives are examples of anger, envy, lust, selfishness or laziness, then we know that there is a sickly soul inside. If we want to make changes, we cannot simply try to change the appearances – to put on a nice face or pretend to be a good person. Sooner or later the mask will fall, because it is only hiding something rotten inside. We must change from within, go deep down to the root of our defects, heal our soul in the Sacrament of Penance, and work to build a life of virtue from the very foundation.