LEAVES AND FRUITS: A HOMILY ON SATURDAY, 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR II, BY FR. IFEANYICHUKWU HENRY NWOKORO CSsR, IBADAN
Some trees are valued for their beauty and these we call flower trees. But there are other trees that are valued for their fruits and these are fruit trees. Among the fruit trees, there are differences. For example, a mango tree does not produce oranges. Yet, we cannot say one fruit is better than another.
God loves us so much that he gave gifts to each and every one of us. God did not create anybody just because he was bored and did not know what to do. Even the children we consider ‘mistakes’ are no mistake before God. Just because you dont know your purpose doesnt mean you have no purpose. In the first reading we are told that God has given gifts to all of us. Each of us has been given his/her own share of grace. The gift given to the orange tree is different from that given to the apple tree. Some are apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and teachers, etc. There are some people we meet and maybe because they are good with a certain musical instrument, we say they are talented. This can give the impression that other people are not talented. God is too good to create junk. There are other people we see, maybe because they have some physical or mental disabilities, tend to think they are useless. It is we who are useless for considering anybody useless. It is we who lack the talent of seeing the talent in such people.
The book of Genesis is one of my favorite books in the bible. I think the writer of that book is a genus, like every other person in their own way. God gave so many fruit trees to Adam and instructed him not to eat the one in the middle. After Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit, they used leaves to cover their bodies, out of shame. This is what we still do today. We prefer to have beautiful leaves than to bear fruits. What it means is that we prefer to look good than to be good.
Naturally, we like competition and we like to show that we are better than other people. The same thing happened in the Gospel, where some people are trying to tell Jesus about the Galileans who were killed by Pilate. Sometimes when people pray they always say ‘It is not by our power that we are alive today. It is by the grace of God. Some people have died recently, and some are sick in the hospital. Thank God that we are not dead and we are not in hospital‘. This kind of prayer is not wrong but can be misleading. It can give us the impression that our situation is better than that of those who have died or those in the hospital. God gives to each day what He deems best.
Every tree has its own season. Jesus makes them to understand that those who are violently killed do not suffer such beause they are more guilty than every other person. We may think that the reason we are still alive is because we are so good. But the opposite may be the case. What if God is keeping us alive because He is giving us more time to repent. Maybe if we die now, we will go to hell and God is keeping us alive to prevent that. Maybe those who died are more blessed. Maybe those in the hospital are more blessed. There is no answer to this. We often interview those who lived up to 100 to know how they did it. This presurposes that they are more blessed for living so long. Maybe it wasnt a blessing. God loves us so much that He does not want any of us to perish. He will do anything possible to save us.
God has given gifts to each and every one of us. He is too good to create junk. He is too good to watch any of us perish. However, we can ignore our gifts and misuse our opportunities, either because we do not know we are gifted or we prefer other people’s gifts, or we think we still have time. In the end, God does not want us to be covered with leaves out of shame for not producing fruits. He expects us to be covered with good fruits. Let us not compare ourselves to other people. Each person should acknowledge his/her own gift and use it to produce great fruits.
I am Fr. Ifeanyichukwu Henry Nwokoro, CSsR. I am your fellow child of God and this is my way of sharing my daily reflections with you. Please feel free to leave a comment, suggestion or question. Let everything that lives and that breathes give praise to the Lord.
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