Tuesday, May 5, 2009

By Their Fruits

First Reading: Acts 11:19-26
Psalm: Ps 87:1b-7
Gospel: Jn 10:22-30


Today's gospel is an interesting situation. Jesus is at the temple and the people insist that he declare himself if he truly is the Christ.
Jesus answered them, "I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name testify to me. - John 10:25

When dealing with people, we often like to question. "Did you do this or that?", "Where do you stand on such and such an issue?", or any of a vast number of things that can be asked about ourselves. The ones that I hear the most often from people that I meet are "What's your name (who are you)?", "Where are you from?" and "What do you do?"

The question asked of Jesus today covers the first two. They knew that they should be on the lookout for a Messiah, a messenger from God that would deliver them. Thus, they wanted to know both "who are you" and "where are you from". However, they seemed to keep missing the third question, which is unfortunate. It is the most important one of all.

When you want to know if someone is trustworthy, do you march up to them and ask them plainly? More likely, you would observe their dealings with others and then make a decision to trust or not. If someone were to ask whether you are a good person, you could give a simple yes or no, but the answer is meaningless if it is not backed up with examples. In any case, at some point, a leap of faith has to be made on whether to trust someone from the evidence of their works.

Jesus tells us "By their fruits you shall know them" (Mt. 7:16a), and again, at the Last Supper:
This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. - John 13:35
Do our own actions speak of our beliefs? The priest at my home parish has a saying that he likes to ask us. I leave it as a reflection for the day: 'If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?'

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the gift of this day. As we continue our walk of faith, help us to be the light for the world. Let Your love shine in us, so that all may know wonder at Your name. Grant that our actions testify to the truth of our faith. We ask all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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