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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Twelfth Week 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.
Versicle 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, 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.”

«By their fruits you will know them»

+ 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 rotten tree. 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 deteriorate 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 “every good tree bears good fruit” (Mt 7:17) mean? It means that the good one is good as long as he does not stop doing good things. That he does good things 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 till heroism. He does good and if by any chance he yields to the weariness of acting like this, of falling before the temptation of doing evil, of getting scared before the non-negotiable demand, 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 also because, by being aware through personal and social experience of the goodness of others through their good deeds, he knows that he can be recognized as a good person not only because of his good words but through his facts.

It is not enough to say: “Lord, Lord!” Faith is shown through our works! As St. James wrote: “Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works” (Jm 2:18).