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Saturday, October 24, 1998

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St. Anthony Claret

Ephesians 4:7-16
Psalm 122
Luke 13:1-9

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fruitfulness or doom

"Perhaps it will bear fruit. If not, it shall be cut down." —Luke 13:9

We must bear the fruit of evangelization and holiness. The alternative is to be cut down like an unfruitful tree (Lk 13:7, 9),  and get thrown into the fire to be burnt (see Jn 15:5-6), possibly undergoing tragedies (see Lk 13:1-5) on this earth and finally undergoing the ultimate tragedy of everlasting separation from God in hell. Therefore, we must bear fruit both for our own sakes and for the salvation of as many people as possible (1 Cor 9:19).

The Lord is so strict and severe about this because He is Love (1 Jn 4:8, 16). As Love, He wants all "to be saved and come to know the truth" (1 Tm 2:4). Everyone in the world has the need and the right to hear and see the Christians of this world proclaiming the Gospel and living it in holiness. Therefore, the Lord commands us to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8) and to make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19). Otherwise, we will be punished.

We can be sure of bearing fruit and of saving ourselves from the terrible effects of fruitlessness by living in Jesus and accepting Him as Lord of our lives so that He will live in us (Jn 15:5). To do this, we must die to ourselves (see Jn 12:24). "Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus, so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed" (2 Cor 4:10). We either die, live in Christ, and bear fruit, or we live for ourselves, are fruitless, and are doomed. Decide to be fruitful now.

Prayer:  Father, like a grain of wheat, I fall to the earth and die to bear much fruit (Jn 12:24).

Promise:  "It is He (Jesus) Who gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers to equip the saints for the work of service to build up the body of Christ." —Eph 4:11-12, our transl.

Praise:  St. Anthony brought the message of salvation and justice to the farmers of Cuba. Pray with St. Anthony for the people of Cuba.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, April 4, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 8, 1998