Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘bearing fruit’


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Matthew 12:24Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.

God says: Put aside your fear about your earthly dying; do not store up things of the earth.  They are finite and do not last.  Each time you feel yourself breaking . . . or falling . . . or dying . . . you are preparing yourself to produce good fruit.  Each time you believe you are at an end . . . you are at a beginning, a beginning of a new, better, and transformed self.  Do not be afraid for I am with you in this as I am in all you do.

We are trained as children to steer clear of pain and this is understandable; yet pain will happen.  When it does, let us take ourselves to the author of life itself, and let us allow God to produce good fruit from our suffering.

To reflect more on the opportunities we might mistake for failures, type the word fruit into the blog search box and take a moment to reflect on how our brokenness can bear fruit when we welcome God into our daily living.


A re-post from August 13, 2012.

Image from: http://www.americasheartland.org/commodities/wheat.htm

Read Full Post »


Colossians 1:1-14: Continued Progress

Saturday, December 29, 2018

We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you . . .

In all of our anxiety we may forget to pray for one another . . . and we may forget that others pray for us.  Let us remember and give thanks for the prayer that binds us all in Christ. For wherever two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:20)

For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the holy ones . . .

In all of our activity we may forget that faith in Christ Jesus has the power to transform . . . and the power to save.  Let us remember and give thanks for the gift of faith we share.  I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from there and it will move.   Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)

The Gospel is bearing fruit and growing so also is it among you . . .

In all of our frustration we may forget that despite the negative news and dire predictions Christ Jesus grows in us . . . and Christ Jesus strengthens us as we grow among the weeds. When the servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds the enemy has planted among the wheat?” he answered, “No, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest.  At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into the barn.” (Matthew 13:24-30)

Egypt: A woman carries wheat

Paul knows how difficult it is to remain faithful to the Gospel and so he offers the Colossians – and us today – a Prayer of Thanksgiving for Continued Progress . . .

We ask that you be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding . . .

We wish you to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God . . .  

We ask that you be strengthened with every power, in accord with God’s glorious might . . .

We wish for you all endurance and patience . . .

With joy we give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. 

God delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

Let us give thanks for God’s gift of fidelity, faith.  Let us give thanks for God’s gift of endurance, patience.  Let us give thanks for God’s gift of great strength, deliverance from the darkness and the weeds.  Let us give thanks for God’s gift of our inheritance, God’s light that gathers us into the barn.

Let us give thanks for the holy ones in heaven. 

Let us give thanks for the prayer we both offer and receive. 

Let us give thanks for our continued progress in God’s love. 

At this harvest time of year, let us give thanks . . . Amen.

Glendening:Surrey Cornfield


A re-post from November 26, 2011.

Images from: http://www.faithandworship.com/Harvest_Thanksgiving_Resources_and_Prayers.htm and http://inhisfathershouse.wordpress.com/category/getting-real-not-religious/page/2/ and http://dianabuja.wordpress.com/category/egypt-ancient/page/2/ 

Read Full Post »


2 Chronicles 1Our Requests

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Several days ago we reflected on David’s last words and what our own might be.  Today we look at what immediately follows.  Solomon’s request gives us hope for this people who have struggled against odds to be a nation of their own.  When we read the entire story we know how things end for Solomon; but rather than focus on hopes dashed by tragic defects, we might instead consider what we might ask of God if he were to say to us as he does to Solomon: Make a request of me, and I will grant it to you. 

God actually appears to Solomon and this we might envy, wishing that God would approach us in human form to speak with us directly.  Yet, have we considered that God does this daily by appearing through others?  And when God does appear, what is it that we ask of him?  Do we ask for comfort and ease?  Something that brings us and others justice?  Do we look for some wide and sweeping gift like world peace, or good leaders?  Or do we ask for something small for each of us: freedom from fear of any kind, respect for others and for the planet? 

God actually appears to us every minute of every day – although we may not feel his presence he is there all the same.  Jesus lived among humans for a brief time and the resurrected Christ appeared to the twelve, to the seventy and seventy-two and to hundreds and thousands.  Jesus continues to appear to us each day and each night always asking us – just as he did for the blind, the lame, the sick and the sorrowful: What is that you want?   Jesus is constantly saying to us in both little ways and big ways – just as he did for those who accompanied him in his ministry – Do not be afraid, you have nothing to fear, I am with you. 

God wants to grant our heart’s desire.  God has plans of joy for us.  God loves us beyond measure.  God wants us to be happy.  God wants to bring us justice.  God holds us and cares for us constantly.  God’s Spirit has chosen to dwell within us just as God chose to live among the Israelites in the tent we read about today.  God exists and abides with us; we just want proof that he is actually where we want him to be . . . looking like someone we want him to look like . . . acting like someone we want him to act like . . . saying what we want him to say.  But this is not how God works.  Still . . .

Make a request of me, and I will grant it to you. 

We constantly complain that we might be happier, more prosperous, better looking, and less cranky if only . . .   If only I had a better job, if only the church service were more interesting,  if only my family understood where I was coming from, if only the government would . . . if only.  Yet, when we honestly examine our lives we discover that we have most of what we have requested and often more besides – just like Solomon; but we have allowed ourselves to become so overwhelmed by what our culture demands of us – which often runs counter to what God asks of us – that we have not even noticed.  And so we add more if onlys” to our litany.

Make a request of me, and I will grant it to you. 

God grants Solomon the gifts of wisdom and knowledge and more besides; God also gives Solomon riches, treasures and glory.   It is Solomon who struggles to handle all of this.  It is Solomon who becomes influenced by the world and who turns away from God . . . it is not God who ignores or abandons Solomon.

Make a request of me, and I will grant it to you. 

We may want to spend some reflection time today pondering what it is exactly that we want from God . . . and what it is exactly that we will do with these gifts – for God will surely grant our request.

We may also want to spend some time pondering how it is exactly that we will share these gifts, how it is exactly that we plan to remain close to God, how it is exactly that we will bear fruit back to this marvelous God who loves us so much that he says to us daily . . . Make a request of me, and I will grant it to you. 


We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on June 21, 2011. 

Images from: http://www.thesunblog.com/gourmetgal/2009/01/ and http://www.thesunblog.com/gourmetgal/2009/01/

Read Full Post »


Judges 4Deborah and Barak

Salomon deBray: Jael, Deborah and Barack

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Today’s story from Judges is different from yesterday’s, and it might show us that unity may be easier to achieve than the division into which we so easily slip.

The Book of Judges is good for us to read when we think we will never exit our cycle of sin and repentance; we see the Jewish nation struggle with independence just as we do when we mature in years.

We can find solid commentary in a good study Bible that will expland our understanding. Or we may explore http://www.Chabad.org http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/463964/jewish/Deborah-and-Barak.htm?gclid=CjwKEAjwvYPKBRCYr5GLgNCJ_jsSJABqwfw7AVII8ddJeZB3EcomDvzeudwTLpnQUYcxSrdGaV5jFBoCp0vw_wcB

We might also enter a discussion or ask questions on this site.

The stories in Judges are so often cited as a justification for holy war; yet as Christians we know and try to understand that retaliation has no place in the New Law.  As believers living in exile, we know that the faithful need not fight.  We have learned that God will make way for the faithful, and that God will be a refuge for those who try to follow in God’s Way.  As Jesus people, we will follow the voice where it leads, and we will put hands, and feet and words into the Hope that Christ calls us to live out.

From MAGNIFICAT today: The unity for which Christ lived and died is not an abstract ideal.  It is the result of hard work: suspending judgment, choosing others before self, forgiving, seeking reconciliation rather than nursing hurt pride.  In other words, it requires that we die to self in Christ.  The fruit?  The blessing of God’s peace!

This is followed by Jeremiah 31:10-14A canticle of celebration . . . the virgins will dance and strike their tambourines, young men and old will be merry, and God’s people will be filled with God’s blessing. 

The morning intercessions reflect on a message of healing the world through devotion, a message we can well use today.

Let us pray according to Christ’s will: Make us one in mind and heart.

For all the church: in the midst of difference and diversity: Make us one in mind and heart.

For all who believe in your name: in the midst of our divisions: Make us one in mind and heart.

For all who live in opposition to one another: in the midst of our conflicts and misunderstandings.  Make us one in mind and heart.

Amen.

Adapted from a reflection written on June 10, 2008.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 10.6 (2008). Print.  

Read Full Post »


Psalm 106Grafting to the Vine

grafting vines

Grafting vines in Napa Valley, USA

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Favorite from May 13, 2009.

We can always count on God’s fidelity despite anything we think, say or do.  God’s love is that immense.  All generations experience the collective sin of turning away.  All generations have the opportunity to return.  How do we show God that we desire this goodness?  We thank and praise God when God visits the many small miracles of each day upon us.  We credit God with what is God’s; we credit God with all that is true and honest; and we allow this truth and honesty and love – this God – to become manifest in us.

From today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation by Sister Lucia, one of the three children who spoke with the Blessed Mother in Fatima, Portugal on this day in 1917.  To love is to possess the greatest gift of God, himself . . . It is to possess God and be ourselves immersed in God; it is the true love of God in us . . . The materialistic world does not know God, does not understand the spiritual life of the indwelling of the most high Trinity . . . And not only does it not understand it.  It actually despises it and even persecutes it; but it persecutes it because it does not know it, and is unaware of the countless treasures and intimate riches which are contained in it . . . The world seduces and deceives, and Christ cannot reveal himself to those who allow themselves to be caught in the deceitful illusions of the world.  Hence, those who abandon themselves to materialism do not understand the language used by Jesus Christ who is the Word of God; they have been called, since we were all called to follow the divine law, but they have not been chosen, because they do not wish to hear the voice of God, . . . the teaching of Christ . . . They have blocked off their own entrance to eternal life.

Being a language teacher, and thinking about these words, I want to rush about setting up environments and laying out lesson plans to be certain that all of us learn the language of God so that we might fear less and love more.  Then I pull myself up short and realize that each day as I go through my thousand little jobs and works, I have the opportunity to create these plans by the way I move through the many scenarios of my day.  The words I say and the gestures I enact are my lesson plans.  And more than this, the time I spend with God in reflection prepares me to enter into these scenarios.  It empowers me to try to live these scenes with truth and light.  And lastly, it brings me the tools I need to discern the fruits of each day.  Have my thoughts, words and deeds borne fruit?  Has this been good fruit or bad?

Today’s Gospel is from John 15 when Jesus explains that we might remain in him just as he remains in the Father.  We become the branches of his vine.

From a mini reflection in MAGNIFICAT: Branches severed, branches hanging tenuously from Christ the vine, wither.  Branches firmly grafted into Christ the vine continue to be refreshed and renewed by the water of life, the Spirit of God, for whom all human beings thirst, knowingly or unknowingly.

When we graft ourselves firmly to the vine, we find grace in every situation – both the bad and the good.

When we graft ourselves firmly to the vine, we become renewed in the Spirit – even when we have reached the bottom of our resources.

When we graft ourselves firmly to the vine, we can acknowledge freely our turning away from God – whether the turning is individual or collective.

When we graft ourselves firmly to the vine, we need not fear the materialistic world – whether it despises or loves us.

When we graft ourselves firmly to the vine, we can join the psalmist who writes: Give thanks to the Lord, who is good, whose love endures forever . . . Let all the people say, Amen!  Hallelujah!

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 13.5 (2009). Print.  

Read Full Post »


Jeremiah 17:5-10: In Every Season

Thursday, March 23, 2017

We are blessed with a God-given identity and we take our concerns to God the Creator. With gratitude, we trust in God.

I will bless the person
who puts his trust in me.
He is like a tree growing near a stream
and sending out roots to the water.
It is not afraid when hot weather comes,
because its leaves stay green;
it has no worries when there is no rain;
it keeps on bearing fruit. (GNT)

We are accompanied by our brother Jesus and we follow the clearly marked Way our brother Christ sets out for us. In hope, we follow the signs of Christ’s love.

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
They shall be like a tree planted by water,
    sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes,
    and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought it is not anxious,
    and it does not cease to bear fruit. (NRSV)

We are consoled by the Spirit who lives within us and we allow the presence of God to mend all that is broken. With love, we rest in this Spirit.

Blessed is the man who trusts in Adonai;
Adonai will be his security.
He will be like a tree planted near water;
it spreads out its roots by the river;
it does not notice when heat comes;
and its foliage is luxuriant;
it is not anxious in a year of drought
but keeps on yielding fruit. (CJB)

Can we imagine a life when all that we say and all we do is measured in the loving ways of God? Can we envision a kingdom in which the poor take precedence and the marginalized rise up? Can we foresee the effects of God’s compassion, power and tenderness?

After a long drought, the desert blooms in Arizona, U.S.A.

Blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
    the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
    putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
    never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
    bearing fresh fruit every season. (MSG)

Can we believe that we are part of God’s great plan? Can we rely on God’s wisdom, grace and peace? Can we be certain that we are loved and behave as if we accept this truth?

When we compare various translations of these verses, we begin to discover that we are blessed, that we are loved, and that we are created to bear fruit in every season – even in the deserts of our lives.

Read Full Post »


Matthew 21:18-22: Withering the Fig Treea-fig

Friday August 12, 2016

This week we have looked at the many ways in which  Jesus wants to heal us. We have seen him give sight to those who are blind, hearing to those who are deaf, and movement to those who are paralyzed. All he asks in return is that we use the gifts he freely gives us to bear fruit for the kingdom. Today we look at a Favorite adapted from a reflection written on October 26, 2009.

In today’s reading we come across a story that is troubling for some: the sudden way in which Jesus withers a fig tree that has not produced fruit. Here Jesus has just entered Jerusalem and has cleansed the temple of the money changers. In the next portion of this story we will see Jesus’ authority questioned and we will sit at the Master’s feet to listen to a series of parables. Footnotes tell us that we might see Jesus’ actions here as ill-tempered and arbitrary, but it is really a prophetic act portending the judgment that is to come upon Israel “that with all its apparent piety lacks the fruit of good deeds and will soon bear the punishment of its fruitlessness”.  (Senior 45) Here too, besides this obvious portending of the future, Jesus affirms the amazing power of faith – that if we believe we too might cause trees to wither and mountains to be lifted up.  What we read is a strange dichotomy that causes us to think . . . a tool which any good teacher will use: The placement of a puzzle before students so that they might be called to think outside of the normal typical story.  What is Jesus doing when he withers the tree?

We might pose the theory that Jesus would win more converts if he had caused the tree to flourish; but then we miss the importance of our own free will. We, like the fig tree, have been planted in our particular place. We, like the fig tree, may have to exert ourselves to bear fruit. We, like the fig tree, will be held to an accounting of our stewardship of the gifts we have been given.

figIn one of our favorite stories, Queen Esther shrinks from the work she sees lying before her because she fears the loss of her own life and the lives of her fellow Jewish exiles. When she balks, her uncle Mordecai reminds her: Even if you now remain silent, relief and deliverance will some to the Jews from another source; but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows but it was for a time like this you obtained the royal dignity? (Esther 4:14) Who knows for which moment in time our gifts are meant? Who are we to parcel them out in a miserly fashion or to decide to keep these gifts safely tucked away for ourselves?

In Luke 12:48 at the close of the parable about the watchful servant, we hear Jesus remind us that much will be demanded of those who have been given much. We might think of this today as we move through our many small and big chores. What is it we have been given that we are asked to share? What can we do to be certain to produce fruit with the gifts we are given? And do we ourselves have the faith to wither trees and move mountains?

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.45. Print.  

For other views on this reading, click on the images above or visit: https://rgospel.com/2010/02/28/jesus-and-the-fig-tree/ and http://www.christianity.com/blogs/dr-ray-pritchard/how-did-the-fig-tree-wither-so-quickly.html 

Tomorrow, a gentle mastery.

Read Full Post »


Luke 13:1-9: The Dream of Peace

Third Sunday of Lent, February 28, 2016

Zainab Salbi

Zainab Salbi

In today’s reading we watch as the seeds of division are sown by the discontent, the petty and the anxious. They want to know who has sinned and who has not, who is guilty and who is not, who is worthy and who is not. Jesus deftly turns the crowd away from the littleness of their questions and turns them back to the bigness of God. In essence he tells his listeners – as he tells us: there is no need to parse through the little details we drag up as we move through the gossip, scare-mongering and trivialities of our days. There is only a need to reflect the generosity, the beauty and fidelity of God and of God’s creation. There is only the call to bear fruit in the ground where we are planted. It is in this determination to bring good out of bad that God rests. And it is in this same persistence to remain faithful to God that we find God’s hope, and joy and peace.

women for women logoSpend a bit of time today to listen to: Women, Wartime, and the Dream of Peace, a 2010 Ted Talk by Zainab Salbi, an Iraqi author, women’s rights activist, humanitarian, social entrepreneur, and media commentator who founded Women for Women International. Visit the organization Salbi founded, Women for Women International, to see how we might find the peace that is promised to us as we build God’s kingdom today. Go to: http://www.womenforwomen.org/

Click on the images above to learn more, or visit: https://www.w4.org/en/voices/helping-women-survivors-conflict-zainab-salbi/  and http://www.womenforwomen.org/

Between two worldsYou may also be interested in Salbi’s book, Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam, that describes her incredible life story, and her up-close experience with tyranny as a daughter of privilege in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

We begin a new Lenten practice this week. Rather than thinking: “The dream of peace is an unreal and distant illusion,” let us think instead, “The dream of peace we hold is present in God’s kingdom. And God’s kingdom is now”.

Tomorrow, our native place.

Read Full Post »


James 1-4: A Prayer to Resolve Turmoil

Tuesday, October 20, 2015peace-key-703x201

No matter the constraint, no matter the barriers to resolution, there is always a path to find peace when we live in Christ, James tells us. We have seen, in the last few days as we have spent time with the opening chapters of James’ letter, the steps for resolution are not complicated when we live in the Spirit. We see today when we reflect on all that James has shared with us, there is always a way forward with God. And so we pray.

Faith and works together will bring us wisdom . . . good and gracious God, bring us your wisdom. Remind us to rely on what we learn from you rather than our intelligence.

Good works bear good fruit . . . generous and faithful God, bring us your grace. Remind us that apples do not grow on vines and berries do not grow on trees.

Wars and quarrels are of our own making and not God’s . . . peaceful and sustaining God, bring us your serenity. Remind us that with you all things are possible.

God’s love is persistent, patient, strong and at the same time gentle . . . loving and courageous God, bring us your meekness. Remind us that humility can achieve more than all earthly power, fame and glory.

No matter the problem, there is always a solution . . . life-giving and eternal God, bring us your fortitude. Remind us that your love for us will never die.

Amen.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: