June 29, 2018 – Friday in the 12th Week of the Church Year
Saints for the day: Solemnity-of-saints-Peter-and-Paul
2 Kings 22:8-13….1-3 – Psalms 119 – Matt 7:15-20
“Teach me your way of your decrees, O Lord. (Today’s Psalm response)
St. Thomas Aquinas says that nobody can choose evil for evil’s sake. The person always sees that there is something in the evil that is seen as good. Adam and Eve didn’t sit around thinking, “let’s do something evil.” They only wanted to be like Gods, which they saw as being good. None of us gets up in the morning saying, “I wonder what sin I can commit today?”
So the problem of the Israelites on-going struggle to follow God is a journey in and out of God’s love. Not by direct choice to go away from God, but by circumstantial attraction to what they perceive as good. That’s why the story of the Israelites is also our story and one that has consequences further down the road.
In today’s Gospel Jesus uses the analogy of fruit on a tree. The berry on the thorn bush looks good and tempting but it ends up being bitter. But it’s a thorn bush. What did you expect? When Jesus uses this analogy He hopes that we will learn that subtle difference between what looks – on the surface – as being good isn’t always that way. One way that we might get a better handle on this subject is to take Paul’s listing of the “good and bad fruits of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:23 ff.
He first list the attributes of the Spirit: Peace, joy, happiness, self-control, etc., etc.,
Then he lists those things that are not “in the spirit:” anger, jealousy, rivalry, etc., etc.,
What I do with these two lists is to imagine myself as a boat speeding across a lake. All I have to do is look back at the wake I’m leaving to see what’s happening in my life. If it produces big waves that bash against boats tied at the dock or splashes near-by people I have to say that I’m not “living in the Spirit.” Paul calls these the “fruits of the Spirit.” All any of us has to do is look back to see: are things flourishing because of our “passage” through life or are we leaving a trail of devastation? “By your fruits you will be known!” Something to think about. Amen!