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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Wednesday 12th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (2Kgs 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.
Responsorial Psalm: 118
R/. Teach me the way of your decrees, o Lord.
Instruct me, o Lord, in the way of your statutes, that I may exactly observe them.

Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart.

Lead me in the path of your commands, for in it I delight.

Incline my heart to your decrees and not to gain.

Turn away my eyes from seeing what is vain: by your way give me life.

Behold, I long for your precepts; in your justice give me life.
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: 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).