In the second reading for this Sunday, the Apostles James writes that “all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17) This means that all that we have and all that we give, is, firstly, a gift from Our Father in Heaven.
We call these gifts of God “grace.” “Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.” (Catechism #1996) These gifts are as seeds which are planted, watered, and nourished in our hearts and souls, our innermost selves.
However, what fruit these seeds produce depends on our response, our cooperation with grace. James gives us the exhortation: “humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21) If we welcome these gifts humbly, with faith, hope, and love, we will be “a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.” (1:18).
Our Lord in the gospel lists what “rotten” fruits come forth from the heart when it is far from God: from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastely, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.” (Mark 7:21-23)
Even the Church goes through periods of purification, such as now, and of pruning out all that is rotten and not of the life-giving Spirit of the Lord.
If we examine our own lives, our consciences, and find that anything in the Lord’s list is all too familiar, make a good confession. Weed out that rotten fruit, and Lord will plant in your heart seeds of Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment, Courage, Knowledge, Reverence and Fear of the Lord, these are called the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The fruit which comes from a heart that nourishes these gifts are called the fruits of the Holt Spirit, and they are: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.
To all the Students from St. Michael’s, St. James, and St. Paul’s: As you return to school, to your friends and teammates, your teachers and coaches, know that the Lord God is with you, and will give you all the grace you need to grow into good men and women, but you must make choices between right and wrong, good and evil. What choice will you make? What will you allow to come forth from your mouths, your actions, and your hearts? Please know of my prayers for you throughout the school year. See you at Mass!
First Friday Mass of the Sacred Heart in Reparation for all Blasphemy, Sac- rilege, and Scandal:
Friday, September 7th, 2018
8:00 AM St. Paul, New Lisbon (Extraordinary Form)