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Liturgical day: Wednesday 12th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Gen 15:1-12.17-18): The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: «Fear not, Abram! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great». But Abram said, «O Lord God, what good will your gifts be, if I keep on being childless and have as my heir the steward of my house, Eliezer?». Abram continued, «See, you have given me no offspring, and so one of my servants will be my heir». Then the word of the Lord came to him: «No, that one shall not be your heir; your own issue shall be your heir». He took him outside and said: «Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so, «he added, «shall your descendants be». Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.

He then said to him, «I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as a possession». «O Lord God», he asked, «how am I to know that I shall possess it?». He answered him, «Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon». Abram brought him all these, split them in two, and placed each half opposite the other; but the birds he did not cut up. Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses, but Abram stayed with them. As the sun was about to set, a trance fell upon Abram, and a deep, terrifying darkness enveloped him. When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch, which passed between those pieces. It was on that occasion that the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: «To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River the Euphrates».
Responsorial Psalm: 104
R/. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord, invoke his name; make known among the nations his deeds. Sing to him, sing his praise, proclaim all his wondrous deeds.

Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord! Look to the Lord in his strength; seek to serve him constantly.

You descendants of Abraham, his servants, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones! He, the Lord, is our God; throughout the earth his judgments prevail.

He remembers forever his covenant which he made binding for a thousand generations, which he entered into with Abraham and by his oath to Isaac.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Jn 15:4.5): Alleluia. Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord; whoever remains in me will bear much fruit. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 7,15-20): Jesus said to his disciples, «Beware of false prophets: they come to you in sheep's clothing but inside they are wild wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Do you ever pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree always produces good fruit, a rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit and a rotten tree cannot bear good fruit. Any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire. So you will know them by their fruit».

«You will know them by their fruit»

+ Fr. Antoni ORIOL i Tataret
(Vic, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, a new evangelic contrast opens up before our eyes, the one between the good tree and the bad one. The avowals of Jesus are so simple they look almost simplistic. But we can affirm that they are certainly not! They are not simplistic, as real life is not simplistic either.

This one teaches us good trees can degenerate and end up by bearing bad fruits while, on the other hand, there may be rotten trees ending up by bearing good fruits. So what does that actually mean? Perhaps, that «every good tree bears good fruit» (Mt 7:17)? No, it means that the good one is good as long as he does not stop doing good. That he does good and he does not get tired of it. He does good and he does not give up before the temptation to do evil. He does good and perseveres in heroism. He does good, and if by any chance, he yields to the weariness of doing it, falls before the temptation of doing evil, or gets scared before the non-negotiable postulate, he sincerely and truly admits it, heartily repents and... restarts all over again.

Ah! And he also does it, amongst other reasons, because he is conscious that if the tree does not bear a good fruit, it will be cut down and thrown into the fire (the fear of God keeps the true vine of the vineyard!). And because, by being aware of the goodness of others through their good deeds, he knows, not only through personal experience, but through social experiences too, that he can be recognized as good not because of his good words but through his good deeds only.

It is not enough to say: «Lord, Lord!». As St. James reminds us, faith is shown through our works!: «Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works» (Jm 2:18).