… 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. (Mt 7:17-18)
It is the health of the tree that determines the goodness of the fruit. How healthy is our tree? Do we bear good fruit? I think if we’re honest with ourselves, the response would be both yes & no.
We all have areas of healthy, shiny fruit and areas of bruised and maybe even shriveled up fruit. So we have to ask: how do we grow in bearing good fruit?
The answer can be found in the fifteenth chapter of the gospel of John:
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. (Jn 15:4-5)
We must remain in Jesus through prayer & the sacraments, because apart from Him we can do NOTHING! .
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.” (Ps. 143:10) We pray to the Holy Spirit to grow in faithfulness to God’s call in our lives. Prayer helps us to know God’s will. The sacraments give us the grace & courage to do His will – His will for our life, for our day, or maybe even for the moment. Really, though, isn’t that all we have? The moment?
What is the fruit of the Spirit we need today? Is it “… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, [or] self-control” (Gal 5:22)? Perhaps it is gentleness with a child, or kindness to a co-worker, or generosity to someone who is lonely & in need of our time, or self-control with someone who tries our patience, or love to extend forgiveness to ourselves.
The good news is that we don’t do it on our own. Jesus gave us the sacraments of the Church to give us the grace to do God’s will. It is the Holy Spirit’s work in us. The greatest source of this grace, this gift of courage to do God’s will in the moment, is the Eucharist. It is the best way to remain in Jesus.
So today and in the week ahead, continue praying for a renewal of the Holy Spirit as we await the celebration of Pentecost once again. And, make an extra effort to attend Mass or to go to confession this week, especially if you’re looking to spiff up your fruit!
Come Holy Spirit! Anne