More Reflections from the Garden
I made space in my garden this year for a pumpkin patch. I thought it would be fun for the kids to pick pumpkins from our very own garden in the fall. My one attempt at a pumpkin in last year’s garden didn’t turn out so well so this year I went all out and dedicated an entire “patch”; smart thinking when you know exactly what went wrong and how to fix it….
At any rate, I followed the directions on the seed packet, made lots of little mounds and planted the seeds. In no time I had little seedlings that gradually grew to resemble actual pumpkin plants. As they grew I vaguely noticed there were some variations in their appearance (I actually think one of the plants may be a watermelon?) but one mound in particular had me wondering. The leaf didn’t quite resemble any of the others. Still it was green and healthy and growing very similarly to all the other plants so I certainly didn’t want to risk yanking out a perfectly good fruit plant. I left it to grow along with the others knowing it would be exposed for it’s true identity sooner or later. Sure enough all the plants began to sprawl and flower and produce tiny little baby pumpkins, (or watermelon) except that one. The writing was on the wall for the imposter. It was time for the now giant weed to take it’s leave.
Mt 7:16-20 “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “
Jesus is speaking here of false prophets and it’s certainly a relevant warning today in the face of all who are rising up on a global scale to mislead Christ’s church. So many Catholics and Christians alike have a shallow faith, like the seed that fell on rocky ground and was scorched by the heat because it had no roots, they are easily misled and fall into the trap of false thinking based on seemingly good and noble ideas. Mainstream society has fallen victim to these false prophets for generations, but particularly in recent decades as is evidenced by the “bad fruits” rampant in our world today. When you consider the state of marriage and the family and the value, or lack thereof, that we place on life at all stages, it becomes obvious that for all of our ‘do-gooding’ today we simply are not better off.
In the name of acceptance and political correctness and standing up for rights, we have managed to stand for nothing and certainly not for the love and justice that Jesus preached. He warned us over 2000 years ago and, against all odds, that warning is in black and white today for the world to read.
Later in Matthew’s gospel Jesus warns, “Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold.” (Mt. 24:11-12)
An example in the United States is the legality of abortion. Our laws and government promote a pregnant woman’s right to choose, in the name of freedom, but the fruit of that ‘right’ is millions of murdered babies and millions of women facing grief, depression, anxiety and a long list of post-abortion syndrome side effects. I would venture to guess that the tentacles of pain and suffering are far more widespread than meets the eye. It would seem the love of a great many has indeed grown cold and the depth of deception is staggering. A bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Abortion is a bad tree and it bears horrific fruit. It seems so simple and yet it is a subject of so much controversy and division and even hate.
On a smaller scale in our own lives and communities we can probably recognize a few false prophets. People who are deceived and misguided and misled and speak in the name of Christ. Jesus says beware of these wolves in sheep’s clothing! As followers of Christ, every single one of us bears false witness to God’s teaching when we don’t follow his laws of life and love. When we claim to be Christians, yet our lives don’t set the example of a Christian, we are being false prophets. If we are not bearing good fruit in our lives we are exactly what Jesus was warning against in His message.
And it wasn’t a vague notion he laid out but rather a hard and direct truth. Every tree that does not bear good fruit WILL BE cut down and thrown into the fire.
The imposter pumpkin was bound to be exposed for it’s true nature and had I left it in my patch it would have taken valuable water and nutrient away from the real fruit bearing plants. There was no choice but to dig it out.
Of course we will all fall and we will all sin but holiness should always be the goal. As christians, that is, as a people who Love God’s will more than our own we are called to be beacons of light and hope in an ever darkening world. We need to have an awareness that we bring Christ’s light, His message and His Love to all who are watching.
God, we pray you would open our eyes to all the ways we do or don’t live the Gospel in our lives and give us the grace to live your Holy will in all ways. Amen