Saturday, October 24, 2015

Bear Fruit in the Future

If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.  Romans 8:11

“He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:8-9

Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your eyes so that you are just in your word, and without reproach in your judgment. (Psalm 51:3-6)

We are pulled in two directions…one way leads to life and peace while the other leads to hostility and death. How perfect life could be if we made decisions 100 percent of the time toward life and peace.   However, it is not that easy because we are constantly called to holiness via repentance (change) AND called to the pleasures of the flesh.  Our loving God awaits our decision and action daily.

Fortunately, through the redemptive work of Christ, Christians have been liberated from the terrible forces of sin and death. Holiness was impossible so long as the flesh (or our “old self”), that is, self-interested hostility toward God, frustrated the divine objectives expressed in the law. The same Spirit who enlivens Christians for holiness will also resurrect their bodies at the last day. [i]

The parable of the barren fig tree presents a story about the continuing patience of God with those who have not yet given evidence of their repentance from the sins of the flesh to the righteousness of the spirit. 

“If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

In a recent homily, Pope Francis acknowledged that because of weakness, original sin and the devil, the temptation to fall back into old habits is constant. The path to conversion, he said, is made "a little bit each day" even when there are difficulties. Like an athlete, he said that Christians must train in sanctity in order to win the "great victory of heaven."

“Let us ask this grace from the Lord: to be strong, to be strong in this training of life toward the encounter, that we might receive the gift of justification, the gift of grace, the gift of the Spirit in Christ Jesus," the pope said.[ii]  In this way, we may bear the fruits of the spirit in the future.


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