Every Tree is Known by its Fruit

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

The quality of a tree is known by the quality of the fruits borne by the tree. This literally means that the tree should not be judged by its appearance but by the fruit which is generated by it. The proverb also can be stated…

As is the king so are his subjects.
As is the mother so is the daughter.

St. Monica was born in a Christian family, she married a pagan man. Her marriage was blessed with three children. The oldest and most famous was Augustine. Her husband was not a model husband yet Monica prayed ceaselessly for his conversion. After much prayer her husband accepted baptism but he died within a year. Her son Augustine was a constant concern. Augustine followed the example of his father. He refused to accept baptism for many years, Monica prayed, fasted and cried silently for Augustine’s conversion, God was listening. He heard and finally answered these prayers of this faithful mother. Augustine left his sinful ways, accepted baptism from St. Ambrose of Milan. After his baptism he became good Christian and eventually bishop of Hippo. He was one of the greatest minds of the early Christian church, a theologian whose ideas forever influenced the Catholic Church. St. Monica died shortly after at the age of 55, secure in the knowledge that her son had responded God’s call. Her work on earth was finished. She was a good tree that produced good fruit.

If we want to judge a person we have to judge them not by their speech but by their actions in times of adversity. There is a story in the bible in which two women with a small baby came to King Solomon and said that this baby was their child. King Solomon could not determine who the real mother was so he said that he would cut the child into two giving them each one half. The real mother opposed it and said that she does not want to kill the child because the real mother truly loved the child. So even if King Solomon cannot choose the real mother he made use of the true inner quality of a mother to resolve the problem. So if we want to judge a person, we should do it from their actions.

In today’s gospel, Jesus also teaches us that the quality of our heart determines the quality of our words and actions. He says, “A good person, out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, while an evil person, out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” As Christians, if we live according to the good news, our actions and words would be guided by it. Consequently, it will affect others positively. On the contrary, if we fill our hearts with evil, our words and actions would be filled with nothingness. Are our words uplifting or tearing down others? Jesus describes the heart as one that either produces fruit that is good or fruit that is evil. What kind of fruit is growing in the tree of our heart? Bearing good fruit of love for one another is needed more now than ever before in this world. Evil and hatred sits at the forefront of the world, but God is calling us Christians to be “good fruit trees” that bears good fruit that can only be identified by our character from the words we speak. If we are bearing good fruit, the results will be productivity for the kingdom of God in word and deed. Jesus observes that good trees bear good fruit. When we produce abundant good fruit, then God is glorified. We understands that we have been created by God for fruitfulness.

One Response to “Every Tree is Known by its Fruit”

  1. pussywillowpress Says:

    Thank you, Father, that was very timely.

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