For the words of the mouth flow out of what fills the heart. What comes out of the mouth reflects the mind. Bad language, bad talk, hate-filled speech show a corrupted mind. Rotten trees produce bad fruits.
Sometimes I wonder, even after 50 years of priesthood, whether Jesus, because of his sense of humour, came from Palestine or Ireland. There is a slight exaggeration in considering a plank of wood in one’s eyes. Yes, a splinter, it may well have happened to Jesus in his carpenter’s shop in Nazareth. But it helps us clearly to see how we can exaggerate the wrong others do in comparison to our own failings. We are told that so often, we see our own shortcomings in condemning the faults of others. The pot calling the kettle black!
We have heard it said that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. We are reminded to get our own house in order first before pontificating to others how they should behave. How easily we blame other for our own shortcomings. It’s as old as Adam and Eve. It’s our story. Adam said, Lord it wasn’t me, it was the woman who tempted me. And then Eve blamed the serpent and the poor old snake didn’t have a leg to stand on!
Yes, we can be so blind to our own faults because we spend so much time judging others. We can be so blind to certain faults in ourselves. Ask anyone who lives in the same house as you or in your place of work. The journey to perfection begins with ourselves; we have to come to terms with our own limitations first. This discipline helps us to understand and appreciate others. Jesus reminds us that we should bear good fruit – a rotten tree is useless. The fruits that we need to produce are those suggested by Paul in reminding us that the fruits of the Holy Spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Those nine attributes as presented in chapter 5 of St Paul to the Galatians are so vital to our spiritual journey in life. Those virtues are so life-giving to ourselves and others.
Here is a challenge for Lent which is on the horizon. Take each of those nine fruits and sow a little seed of each one each day. One day at a time and one seed at a time! What an activity during the Lenten Season!
That all for this week, God bless,