Gen 15: 1-12, 17-18;
Psalm 105: 1-4, 6-9;
Mt 7: 15-20
GOD PRODUCES ONLY GOOD
Sometimes we don’t see the full and immediate effects of our faith relationship with God. It often takes time. If we have patience, God will fulfill all the promises made to us and will give us more than we could ever imagine. Genesis presents God making a covenant (literally “cutting”) with Abram (Abraham) in few different chapters. The covenant is basically the same: because of Abram’s acceptance of God’s promised inheritance, God will bless Abram and his descendants and they will be become a great nation possessing the promised land, and Abram and his offsprings will be the source of blessing for others.
Today’s account of the relationship-covenant portrays the ritual of “cutting” or splitting animals in two. One or both of the two parties (in this case God and Abram) move between the split animals signifying a similar fate (being split in two) will result to the one who breaks the covenant agreement. God’s presence moving between the bisected animals is the smoking fire pot and flaming torch. Not told in these verses is that Abram probably walked between the “cut” animals also. Some scholars would say that if the covenant was unilateral – God alone being bound by the covenant – then Abram would not have to walk between the split animals.
The psalmist recalls that God is always faithful to the relationship-covenant which God made with Abraham and his descendants. God will remember the covenant forever (not just for a thousand generations (the Hebrew word can mean a time period longer than a generation). A “thousand” – a huge number in ancient times – would be comparable to “infinite,” a word which would not have been in ancient Hebrew.
In the Gospel, Jesus ask His disciples to look beyond external appearance. More important than superficial coverings or attitudes is the “fruit” of one’s action. If the “fruit” of one’s life is growth-filled and positive, it speaks loudly of the person’s real orientation and responsibility. The product of one’s action does not produce goodness or reward. It is the awareness of the source of life (God) and the divine gifts already given that enables the good fruit to be borne.
One key thought that strikes me from the readings is the starting point of all that is good. God is the origin of all that is good. God only produces good. The covenant which God offered Abram was good. Abram’s response to God’s good covenant produced good fruit – not just in Abram’s offspring, but in the world. God continues to produce good fruit. The best fruit which God gave to us was the divine Son. Jesus is not just the fruit of the womb of Mary, He is the fruit of God. No greater fruit has been or could be produced.
God continues to invite us to “taste and see” the goodness which is offered. If we accept the goodness of the Lord, then we will also produce good fruit as a response to the goodness we have tasted and seen. This continues to challenge me to come to the Lord Jesus and feast on all the goodness which He offers. I do that by reading the Word, contemplating the Word, and receiving the Lord Jesus sacramentally. That is the food which nourishes me and allows me to bear good fruit in response to the goodness I have received.