Committed disciples

February 27, 2022

It’s timely that today we hear Jesus use the word “hypocrite” when teaching his disciples, for we will hear him say that word again and repeatedly in Ash Wednesday’s Gospel. There is something very distasteful about pretending to be something that you’re not. Whether it’ pretending to be a better person than you really are or refusing to see your own flaws. Further, the hypocrite imagines that everyone else must be faking it just as they are, so rationalizes that they are doing just what everyone does. In fact, they are happy to find bona fide splinters in others’ eyes, for, blinded by their own pride, they confirm their apparent superiority. Let us learn the lesson a few days early; Hypocrisy blinds us to both the goodness in others and the flaws in ourselves. On the night before he died, Jesus told his disciples that he was the vine and they were the branches and that they would bear much fruit if they remained in him and he in them. Jesus remains in us as well and if we remain in him, if we remain committed disciples, we too can bear much fruit. Sirach tells us that fruit we bear shows the care we’ve had. Let us nurture the Lord’s care and bear the kind of fruit that helps grow the kingdom and shows the goodness in our hearts. None of us want to bear rotten fruit, but do we realize that avoiding doing so is not enough? How many of us are actually bearing no fruit at all? Have we produced something good and valuable over the last week that we have generously given to someone else? Let us do more than avoid bearing rotten fruit. May we produce fruit that causes our family, friends, coworkers, classmates, and strangers to appreciate what we generously provide. Amen. (Casey, Most Reverend Robert G. Pastoral Patterns. World Library Publication, 2021)

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