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Monday, June 3, 2002

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St. Charles Lwanga
& Companions

2 Peter 1:2-7
Psalm 91
Mark 12:1-12

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"the fruited plain"

"In due time he dispatched a man in his service to the tenants to obtain from them his share of produce from the vineyard." —Mark 12:2

The Lord's first recorded words to the human race were: "Be fruitful and multiply" (Gn 1:28, our transl). Jesus even called Himself "the Vine" (Jn 15:5). This was His way of insisting that we bear abundant, lasting fruit (Jn 15:5, 16).

Jesus warned His disciples that they would suffer a tragic end unless they repented and bore fruit (Lk 13:1-9). He cursed a fig tree because it was not bearing fruit — even out of season (Mk 11:13ff). Jesus did this before He cleansed the Temple because of the unfruitfulness of its religious leaders. Before His death, Jesus told a parable about an owner of a vineyard who sent servant after servant to the vineyard's tenant farmers to collect his share of the fruits (Mk 12:2ff). These servants were repeatedly beaten and murdered. Nevertheless, the owner of the vineyard was determined to get his fruit. He finally sent his beloved son to obtain the fruit. Predictably, the son was also murdered. Allegorically, this means that God the Father sent His Son not only to collect fruit but to bear it super-abundantly by dying on the cross (Jn 12:24).

Jesus has made Himself clear. We must bear the fruit of evangelization and holiness, or perish. Be fruitful!

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in me (see Gal 5:22).

Promise:  "He has bestowed on us the great and precious things He promised, so that through these you who have fled a world corrupted by lust might become sharers of the divine nature." —2 Pt 1:4

Praise:  St. Charles' companions included members of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, who laid down their lives in martyrdom, refusing to compromise their purity for the chance to stay alive.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, December 4, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 10, 2001