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Stewards and not masters (II). Chosen to bear fruit.

Our Lord does not want our lives to be barren. So there is a need to bear fruit. In the Parables of Talents -that we saw last week- or in the Parable of Pounds -a very similar one- (cf Lk 19:11ff), the Lord comes to collect the fruit of the work of his servants or stewards. As Master he has every right to demand the fruit of what is his. And surely he demands it: “Then why did you not put my money in the bank? On my return I could have draw it out with interest” (Lk 19:23), said the nobleman to his foolish servants in the Parable of Pounds.

The Lord used another Parable, that of the Wicked Vinedressers, before the High Priests and the Pharisees, who understood that those words were aimed at them. And when Jesus Christ concluded the Parable, he said to them: “I tell you then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit(Mt 21:43-44).

Paul, in the Letter to the Romans, while explaining to the Church of Rome how the Christian is set free from the Law by the work of the Cross, states: “In the same way you, my brothers, through the body of Christ have become dead to the Law and so you are able to belong to someone else, that is, to him who was raised from the dead to make us live fruitfully for God (Rom 7:4).

And the same Jesus Christ said to his disciples: “You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last… (Jn 15:16).

So, it is necessary to bear fruit, but how to bear fruit?

To bear fruit we have to be rooted in the right place. Despite the outwardly appearance of the fruit, it may not be a good fruit, if we are not were we ought to be. The secret to give fruit is, to remain in him: Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty(Jn 15:5).

The apostle John uses the image of the vine and the branches that enlightens us about the importance and the way of bearing fruit: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more… Remain in me, as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me” (Jn 15:1-5). Only when grafted in him, only from the communion of life and love with Christ we could bear the fruit that the Father expects. In addition, this implies that before and during the fruit-bearing stage, it is necessary to die to the old life, to the carnal self, to die for self, because otherwise, it is not possible to bear fruit: “In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies it yields a rich harvest” (Jn 12:24).

In the measure of our death to old self and of our efforts to remain in Christ, the Fruit of the Spirit will dwell in us. Some are mentioned in the Letter to the Galatians: “On the other hand the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control… All who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified self with all its passions and its desires” (Gal 5:22-24).

The fruit that the Lord expects is directly related to our receiving, keeping and doing the Word of God, as we see in the Parable of the Sower, where “those who have been sown in rich soil; they hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, thirty and sixty and a hundred fold” (Mk 4:20).

So, we must make efforts to bear good fruit, as not to be cut. John the Baptist spoke of the judgment of God brought about by the lack of fruit, the same that the Master of the Parable of Talents would pass: “Even now the axe is being laid to the root of the trees, so that any tree failing to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire” (Mt 3:10). If we bear good fruit, we shall receive the Lord’s reward: “Well done, good and trustworthy servant;… come and join in your master’s happiness” (Mt 25:23).

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