There are at least two teachings in our Gospel today, one about discipleship and the other about fruitfulness. I noticed that the word “every” occurs twice in the Gospel: “every disciple will be like his teacher,” and “every tree is known by its fruit” and wondered what it would be like to combine them. So here goes: “Every disciple will be known by the fruits of their teacher.”
As disciples, we are all called to produce the fruits of the master teacher, Jesus. Perhaps the most famous biblical passage about such fruits is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
In case you haven’t seen the news this week, these fruits are nowhere to be found in the leadership of Russia.
And so, while these enemies provoke war, destruction, death and terror, we have an added obligation to gather our fruits into one great harvest of peace and justice in our world. We cannot go to the front lines of Kyiv, but wherever there is aggression, authoritarian oppression, hypocrisy, falsehoods — perhaps even in our homes — we have to stand up and say no, as we unleash our “barrage” of fruits in return.
The great season of Lent begins on Wednesday. Let’s plant the seeds of Christian practice for more abundant fruits by renewing our identity and mission in the faith that can produce the greatest human force in the world: the people of God, the body of Christ, the temple of the Spirit.