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Saturday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples: “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have invited me to this moment of prayer. You are the source of my life and of all that is good. I wish to listen to your heart in these moments of prayer and to receive whatever fruit of your love and light you wish to give me.
- Good Fruit: A tree is known by its fruit; a student becomes like his teacher; a Christian is known by his likeness to Christ. Christ also said, “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” (John 15:5). The key to bearing good fruit is to remain united to Christ, the source. All goodness is a reflection of and participation in his own goodness.
- Inner Storehouses: The task of keeping our interior storehouse clean and ordered is lifelong. It requires our constant effort, but not effort out of a desire for perfection, but rather for love. Love is what keeps Christ at the center of our hearts and redirects us when our humanity turns from his so easily and often. Christ assures us of his help in this process. “[The Father] takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit” (John 15:2). While he asks us to be attentive, receptive, and active, he also reminds us who is the real protagonist in this work. Perhaps Mary Magdalene was on to something when she mistook the risen Christ for the gardener (John 20). Jesus is the gardener of our souls.
- Housing Foundations: Christ showed his disciples repeatedly that he’s not a God of lip service. What he says, he does. In fact, his word is effective and performative—it does what it says. When he said, “Let there be light,” there was light. When he said, “Be healed,” healing happened. When he said, “This is my body,” the first Eucharist was consecrated. What he says to us, he will do. And he hopes for the same from us. It’s only possible to fulfill his hopes for us when we remain in him. “Remain in me, as I remain in you. 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” (John 15:4).
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you are the gardener of my soul, the source of my life and my daily strength. You are the foundation of all I am and have. I recognize this and I thank you for it. I ask you to help me to believe in you with even greater faith and to continue building my life upon the truth of your absolutely gratuitous, generous, and tireless love.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will strive to be aware from which inner storehouse my words and attitudes are flowing. If I see I need correction, I will ask for your grace to allow it.
For Further Reflection: Reflect on the fruits of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5: 22-23.
Beth Van de Voorde is a Regnum Christi Consecrated Woman, currently serving in pastoral ministry to families in Madrid, Spain. When she’s not reading Ratzinger or humming along to some song or another, you may find her making her pilgrim way through Spain’s timeless history of faith, walking alongside the beautiful families she’s there to serve.