A Tree Known by its Fruit: The Two Foundations
I’m sure you are very much familiar with this Filipino saying that goes: “Kung ano ang puno, siya rin ang bunga.” In a similar manner, Jesus says in today’s gospel: “A good tree does not bear a rotten fruit, nor does rotten tree bears good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit.”
The main point of Christ’s illustration of the tree is that a person will produce good or bad fruit depending on what is sown in his/her heart. Charles Read said: “Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Like the fruit, a character does not grow overnight. It is to undergo a long process of growing. Jesus connects soundness with good fruit, that is, when it is free from defect, decay or disease and is healthy. Good fruit is the result of sound or good living which is a living according to moral truth and upright character. If our lives are examples of charity, faith, patience and honesty, we know that we are living soundly good. But if our lives are examples of anger, envy, lust, selfishness or laziness, then we know that there is something rotten fruits within us.
In other words, whatever comes out from our mouths can be an indicator of what is inside in our hearts. Therefore, if we are going to speak anything let us make it sure that it will all come from the goodness stocks in our hearts.
Jesus tells us a parable about the importance of building on the right foundation to support what he said about sound living. What is the significance of this parable for us? The kind of foundation we build in our lives will determine whether we can survive the storms that will surely come. There is only one way in which a person’s sincerity can be proved and that is by putting into practice his/her fine words. Fine words can never replace good deeds. In this sense, as somebody had said that our faith must be active to be a truly faith. It demands a response. We cannot hope to find our salvation in simply assenting to what God reveals to us. Nor can we expect him to simply do everything for us. We must work towards it. Christ tells us this in terms of action: “come”, “listen” and “act”. He compares acting to not acting. Our faith demands action. Our continued spiritual health and life demand it.
I’m sure our God is very much happy if He sees good fruits of sound living like: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our lives (Gal 5:22-23). And He would definitely be sad with us if our lives are characterized by bad fruits like: immorality, impurity, shamefulness, idol worship and magic, hatred, jealousy and violence, anger, ambition, division, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like (Gal 5:`9-21).
And so if we bear good fruits of sound living in our hearts, let us be glad. If we bear bad fruits like immorality and others, let us ask God for a change of heart or metanoia. We must change from within, going deep down to the root of our defects, healing our soul in the sacrament of penance and working to build a life of virtue from the very foundation. It is because true persons are honest and reliable before God, themselves and their neighbor. Their words can be counted on. What foundation are our lives built upon?
OPTION 01, 02, 03,