Eighth Sunday of the Year

Posted on Mar 6, 2019

3 March 2019

One Easter when I was in the seminary, I went to my good friend Mike’s house for dinner. His parents had just been divorced after 27 years of marriage. While his father would not be there his maternal grandmother would.

When I first walked into the house I spotted her instantly, she commanded the room. I knew enough about Polish manners to go over instantly to her to show her respect. She nodded, but said nothing and then waved me away with her cane.  I walked away and began speaking with others in the room. All the while I felt her watching me.

Eventually, I sat down and had a glass of wine. I was in a chair somewhat opposite hers, across the room. Our eyes met and she looked at me for a long time,  long enough for me to become uncomfortable. Finally, she motioned me over. I came over to her and squatted down so we would be at eye level. More silence as she looked at me. Finally she said: “So you’re Miju’s friend?  I think you’re a good man.  I can see that.” And that was all, she waved me away with her cane.

All the while she stared at me I worried about what she could see.I suppose part of it was the mystique of Polish grandmothers who can look right through you.I suppose part of it, is that self consciousness we all have, none of us wants others to see through to what we’re really made of.

When Jesus speaks in the gospel today, he speaks about ordinary things. Of course a healthy tree produces healthy fruit. This is not rocket science. In some ways, neither is the condition of our soul. What we say and so are indicators of our spiritual health. Who we are on the inside comes out.

The great fallacy of this age, I think, is that we can keep our faith hidden, keep our true relationship to God, somehow secret. Jesus says: “A good person, out of the store of goodness in his heart, Produces good.  Every tree is known by its fruit.”

Lent approaches.  It’s Ash Wednesday this week. It’s time again to pay attention to the condition of our souls, to look at our souls in the mirror of our actions, and see what we can do to turn once again more completely to the Lord.