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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Homily - Saint Francis and Good Fruit

Recording from 10:30am Mass: Click Here

What kind of fruit are we bearing?  What kind of tree are we eating from?
Today, when the scriptures demand of us a clear produce of proper fruit, we should also recall the two great trees of the Bible, because if we are what we eat, then we have to ask ourselves what kind of tree we are spending time with.  One tree is the tree of the old man, Adam, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which is the source of our divided human heart: part of us afraid of God and the healthy part of us always reaching for Him.  The other tree in the story of the Fall is the tree of life, which in the fullness of time was revealed as the Cross, where we die to our disordered nature and find new life in the new humanity begun in Christ Jesus.
These two trees today are at every moment battling for our hearts as loud, annoying, and effective as any television or radio commercial.  Which one do we spend our time listening to?  The old sinful ways of the tree of pride, the tree of sin and death, the tree of a divided heart, or the tree of humble obedience and rebirth?  How do we do eat of the fruit of that tree?

Ultimately it is connecting with God in prayer.  Prayer is done in all kinds of ways: coming to Mass, reading Sacred Scripture, journaling, using a technique of one of the saints such as Saint Ignatius, Teresa of Avila, or John of the Cross.  Singing Christian music of any era can be prayer.  Simply put, it is looking with love up to God again and again.

CCC-2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God's wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.

Saint Francis, the patron of our pope, had his feast day yesterday, and he has some words about bearing good fruit in our life, and he sees that in order to produce fruit, we have to be connected to the tree of life through our prayer.

SAINT FRANCIS - " O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul; and your neighbor as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshippers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack.

"Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Let us bear that great fruit then, connected to the Tree of Life, the Cross, through this Eucharist, and through our commitment personal prayer, bearing the fruits that God demands of those who bear His name before the world, always displaying the Joy of the Gospel.

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