Producing Good Fruit
Matthew 21:31–43, 45–46
“The Kingdom of God will be …
given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
What a tragic parable Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel reading. This thinly veiled story describes the rejection and death of the Son. God did not allow his plan for the salvation of humanity to be thwarted, however. God’s Kingdom will be given to a people that will produce the fruit that God desires.
Through our baptism we have become members of this people. How can we produce the fruit that God desires? We find the key in the Scripture passage that Jesus quotes: “the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Jesus is this cornerstone. Our lives and our very beings must be grounded in him. This began at our baptism when we became members of Christ and his Body. Now we seek to grow in him, becoming more like Jesus every day.
Practically speaking, how can we do this? We begin by trying to know Christ better, through conversation with him and through thoughtful reading of the Scriptures, especially the Gospels. As we become more aware of Jesus’ teachings, we try to think as he does so that our beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes become similar to his.
Our days are filled with actions, words, and choices, and in them all we seek to imitate the virtues that Jesus practiced.
We fumble along, doing the best we can—and realize that we cannot resemble Christ by our own power alone. We need God’s help and grace. Jesus obtained this grace for us with his death and resurrection. Therefore we seek to grow in grace, especially through daily prayer, participating at Mass, and receiving the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation. The more Jesus is the cornerstone of our lives, the more we bear the fruit God desires. Let us rejoice, for “by the Lord this has been done.”
What an immeasurable gift, Lord, to be one of those persons to whom the Kingdom of God has been entrusted! How I long to bear good fruit! I recognize that it is only possible through your assistance and grace. Please help me, Jesus. Fill me with your grace so that I will be grounded in you today. May my thoughts, attitudes, desires, and behavior resemble yours. When I become discouraged, enable me to trust more wholeheartedly in you. When I begin to rely on my personal resources alone, please assist me to turn to you. Please, Jesus, be the cornerstone of my life. Amen.
Jesus is the cornerstone of my life.
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 46–47). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.