In the early Church, those who spoke in the name of the Lord were considered prophets. It was important for the early Christians to discern between true and false prophets. In today’s Gospel, from Matt 7:15-20, Matthew writes about false prophets. He uses the analogy of trees that bear good fruit (true prophets) versus those trees that bear bad fruit (false prophets). The analogy is meant to correlate to the works of those who speak on behalf of the Church. Some of those who spoke were false prophets, evidenced by their bad deeds. With bad intentions, these false prophets produced bad fruit. Whereas, the Apostles and their disciples, who remained true to the teachings of Christ, produced good fruit via their good deeds.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus asks a rhetorical question:
“Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matt 7:16).
Jesus’ question is more of a statement. He tells us that people know the difference between good and evil. People know where to find goodness, and it doesn’t come from thorn bushes or thistles! Like the early Christians, we, too, rely on the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes as our guides in discerning good deeds. Those who follow the Ten Commandments and incorporate the Beatitudes into their lives produce good fruit via their good deeds.
Do you bear good fruit?
So, if Jesus were standing in front of you today, and asked you what kind of fruit you produce, how would you answer Him? Your deeds bear witness to the answer. You do not need to respond, for He sees whether you are a grape vine or a thorn bush; a fig tree or a thistle. Choose from this day forward to bear good fruit.
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