Test of the just

Greetings on this the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Sir 27:4-7; Ps 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16; 1 Cor 15:54-58; Lk 6:39-45
Notes: Prayer and sympathy for the People of Ukraine this day.

This very day we are in the Test of the Just.

How do we take on the mismatch of works, fruits and faith?

If we are to measure anything we are to measure the fruits of our words and works.

A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.

Russia’s war on Ukraine is a rotten fruit from a rotted tree. Many Catholics in America are excusing him and making excuses for him. How can this be?

First reading

When you shell corn in a traditional way the corn is first dried. Then scrapping the corn cob on cob you slowly remove the kernels until all the kernels are collected in the basket and what remains in your hand is the husk and the cob.

Duress is often the revealer of the character of a person.
For good or ill when one speaks a window is opened to the soul.
This is good news! Sometimes we have convinced ourselves of our rightness that it is only in hearing our own voice, and our own dishonesty that we begin the healing from sin which is the ‘missing of the mark’.

So do one’s faults when one speaks.

Agricultural is primary. Without food we die. Jesus choses to illustrate the work of agriculture as an example of what good works are. They bring and sustain life. Good works is hard work. Multi-step work. Consistent work. So we can eat. Every day work.

https://www.gardeningsite.com/garden-trees/tending-to-apple-trees/

Likewise the tree example. Here Jesus takes the longer path of good work. Trees must be tended to and trimmed, watered, fertilized and otherwise kept healthy so that years from now it may mature and become fruitful. This is a longer term good work that, although consistently applied bring about the course of good in due time.

  • Husking and Shelling – every day good work.
  • Trimming and Harvesting – every year good work.

Always the good work of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The responsorial psalm uses the same type of immediate and long term work reference.

  • Palm trees grow quickly, prolifically and must be attended often.
  • Lebanon Cedars grow slowly and become massive in size.

The just one shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.

Second reading
Jesus speaks and his deeds are true and real.

Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters,
be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

This is the critical and central point.
Jesus has won victory over death.

We, humanity, at times, wish to keep death as supreme.
The one who overcome death wants us to overcome our desire to cause death.

Alleluia Verse
Shine like lights in the world
as you hold on to the word of life.

Gospel Portion
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.

Pope Francis made a bold visit to the Russian consulate. The Seat of Peter did not use word salad to express “thoughts and prayers” which is the modern day and a tired hypocrisy. Rather he came off his seat and walked the walk of Jesus. He advocating for peace in the person. He did not come in chariot and procession. He came, metaphorically, on a donkey.

Hosanna!
Hosanna in the highest, is his cry!

Please read about it here.

https://www.reuters.com/world/pope-went-russian-embassy-express-concern-over-war-moscow-envoy-2022-02-25/

You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.

Let us be clear:

Jesus is NOT saying become HOLIER THAN SOMEONE ELSE before you work together!

NO, no and no!

Jesus is saying have the humility to recognize your OWN sinfulness as a compassion (co-journey) out of sinfulness and into holiness. Pope Francis upon election: “And now, let us start this journey, bishop and people, bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which leads all the Churches in charity, a journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us.”

And again:

Fr. Spadaro himself recounts: https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2013/09/25/i-am-sinner-deep-humility-pope-francis

The pope stares at me in silence. I ask him if this is a question that I am allowed to ask…. He nods that it is, and he tells me: “I do not know what might be the most fitting description…. I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”

People on the point of giving up on life need the most important thing: to be seen and to be heard. Even this past week in ministry this was the case. Despondency yields to hope as a person is known and can know. End of life is a difficult time. Some want to rush it. Others want to deny it. The medicine of the Church is to embrace the victory of the cross over death. [disguised example].

People who are in grief need the most important thing: to be seen and to be heard. Even this past week in ministry this was the case. Grief yields to hope as a person is known and can know. When a widow demanded there be no scripture reading I countered with a suggestion: eleven words. Let me say eleven words.

And Jesus wept.
So they said, “See how he loved him.”
(Jn 11:35-36).

The Divine weeps. Because he chooses to weep for us. He allows us to touch him with our grief, despondency, and our sin. Or have you never seen a crucifix?

Weep, like Jesus.
See, like even the hypocrites did that day, See how he loves them!

Pray for Ukraine.
Pray for Russia and Putin.
Pray for NATO and America and Biden.

Be an advocate for truth. Call your favorite TV personality who is embedded in this Putin Lie. I am amazed anyone would continue to listen to the lies of a Tucker Carlson. He engages in the hypocrisy Jesus decries. He uses tangents, misappropriation and maligning of facts and techniques of a demagogue. He has your ear?

Rather: Weep, like Jesus. Ukrainians are begging to be seen and to be heard.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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