"Any sound tree bears good fruit, while a decayed tree bears bad fruit." —Matthew 7:17
This week, we conclude three weeks of reading and praying the Sermon on the Mount. The world, even much of the Christian world, explicitly denies Jesus' commands in the Sermon on the Mount. For example, our society believes in a pleasure-seeking life-style, not in voluntary poverty (Mt 5:3). We aren't nearly as concerned as Jesus was about looking lustfully at someone (Mt 5:28). How could we stockpile nuclear weapons if we were concerned with loving our enemies? (Mt 5:44) Most people don't believe in the Sermon on the Mount. Who's right — Jesus or our society?
Jesus said: "You will know them by their deeds" (Mt 7:16). "You can tell a tree by its fruit" (Mt 7:20). The fruit of not living God's way is broken lives, broken marriages, and broken hearts, a world overshadowed by the mushroom cloud of nuclear war, a life-style that enslaves, and sexual bondage rather than true love. By its fruits, we know our society is wrong, and Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount were right all along.
Prayer: Father, may I take the Sermon on the Mount as literally as Jesus did.
Promise: "The king made a covenant before the Lord that they would follow Him and observe His ordinances, statutes and decrees with their whole hearts and souls, thus reviving the terms of the covenant which were written in this book." —2 Kgs 23:3
Praise: St. Irenaeus overcame heresy by applying the truths of Scripture and the teaching of the apostles to each error.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, December 16, 1999
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 1999