Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of 23rd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of 23rd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: House built on the rock

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

Homily for Saturday September 11 2021

Lk 6:43-49

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 person 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.”

At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Plain, Jesus gives two parables that teach us on how to become good disciples.

First, Jesus insists on the importance of the internal disposition over the external: “For every tree is known by its own fruit.” This is the message of the parable of the tree being known by its fruit. The disciple must give particular attention to the purity of his heart and authenticity of his motivations and intentions.

That is why hypocrisy is out of the question: “for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” What is inside will certainly be manifest, in one way or another, in the external behavior. This is expressed in the classic philosophical principle, “Agere sequitur esse.” Action follows being. A fruit is bad because it comes from a bad tree; a fruit is good because it comes from a good tree. A really good tree cannot produce bad fruit; nor can a bad tree produce genuinely good fruit.

Hence, a person’s character can be gauged by his actions and behavior: “every tree is known by its own fruit.” Our actions are an outward expression of our inner being. It is “out of the store of goodness in his heart” that the good person produces good and “out of a store of evil in his heart” that the evil person produces evil.

A good disciple, therefore, must focus his efforts on purifying his internal intentions and motivations, and on making sure he produces abundant fruits of goodness and holiness in his life. By this, he gives brilliant witness to Jesus and His Gospel.

Secondly, producing abundant good fruits is not enough. It should be sustained and consistent. This is similar to the lesson of the parable of the wise virgins. Bringing lighted lamps is not enough. There must also be sufficient oil to sustain its light. That is why a good disciple must have an abundant supply of foundational material in his life. And this he gets from the Word of God that must not only be listened to but practiced faithfully and zealously.

Jesus likens such a disciple to a house built on firm foundation. Troubles, problems and even persecutions may come at any moment in one’s life. But the person solidly grounded on the Word of God and has conformed his life to its teachings will not be discouraged nor will he be swayed by various hazardous influences and teachings in the world. Rather, he will always remain steadfast in his commitment and fidelity to the Lord.

The context of this parable is the life of the early Church during times of persecutions. There were those who stood firm because their faith had solid foundation, while others easily succumbed to the pressure of fear due to their superficial faith.

Fortunately, we are not in such a situation anymore. Nevertheless, the threat of losing our faith is stronger than ever. The attraction and enticements of materialism, consumerism and egoism cannot be ignored. Without a sure foundation, anyone can be swept away by the flood of evil and depravity that engulf the world.

To be a good disciple of the Lord, we must be like a good and sturdy tree that is firmly rooted in Him, so that no amount of trouble can bring us down and stop us from bearing abundant fruits of goodness and holiness, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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