‘Bearing fruits’ and community pantries

Published May 2, 2021, 12:53 AM

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD



Once a student of a Catholic college was being initiated into a Catholic organization. He was asked: “What are the most important requirements of our Christian faith?”

Without batting an eyelash, he replied, “Going to Mass on Sunday and receiving Holy Communion.”

Well, these are, indeed, required of every Catholic but definitely that is not enough.

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In today’s 5th Sunday of Easter, Jesus uses an allegory comparing a true follower of his to a plant. A  plant does not only grow but should also bear fruit. “He who abides  in Me,  and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit. By this my  Father is  glorified” (Jn 15:5-8).

What does Christ mean by “not only grow but should also bear fruit”? He means that our faith must be productive in acts of love and a life that reflects moral uprightness. St. John the Baptist summed it up thus:  “Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none, and whoever has food must share it.” He added: “To the tax collectors: ‘Don’t collect more than what is legal.’ To the soldiers: ‘No extortion; do not bully, no false charges’.” (read Lk 3:11).

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During this trying time of COVID pandemic, the initiative of putting up community pantries wherein charitable kababayans share food, clothing items and others may pick up what they need is a concrete form of “bearing good fruit” and a very Christian act.

The celebrity TV star Angel Locsin’s birthday community sharing was very Christian, too, even though it was marred by the death of an elderly man.

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There’s a lesson Angel could learn, however, and that is: When planning a project, ask help for the orderly implementation, particularly barangay officials and those experienced in crowd management. The other message from the community-pantries initiators should serve to prick the conscience of those who have the means to share them.

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In the Parable of the Last Judgment, it is interesting that Jesus will say that only those who faithfully carry out their Christian ministry of helping,  caring and sharing will achieve eternal life.     In that awesome moment, he will not ask: How many prayers have you recited? Or how wealthy are you or how good-looking or intelligent are you?

He will  say rather, “I was hungry you gave me to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me drink, sick and imprisoned and you visited me…enter into the Kingdom of heaven.“ (Read Mt 25:35ff). Hence, our passport to heaven is our good works.

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A man once confessed, “What scares me most is when I come face to face with  God in the next life. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta reports and  God says,  ‘Teresa,  you should have done more good works’.  And  there  I am — right behind her!”

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ASK YOURSELF: How much good works am I doing? Is my life spent in selfish endeavors, immoral and corrupt practices?

Let’s take heed of Jesus’ strong warning: “A tree that’s not bearing GOOD fruit is to be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt. 3:10).

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. The huge wall separating heaven and hell broke down due to the vandalism caused by mischievous devils. St. Peter called out Lucifer, the head of hell’s “angels,” saying: “Hey, since all the engineers are on your side, how about ordering them to fix this broken wall?”

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“Sorry.” Lucifer replied. “My men are too busy to go about fixing a measly fence.” “Well then,” an irate Peter said. “I’ll bring you to court for the damage done.”

“Oh yeah?” Satan answered. “And where are you going to get your lawyer?”

(That’s just a joke. There are also lawyers and engineers who’re honest and God-fearing).

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Try Jesus.  If you don’t like Him, the devil will always take you back.

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You may party in hell every day, but you will be the barbeque!

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APPEAL. There are so many people who are suffering from the corona virus pandemic. There are some I am helping to buy expensive medicines but our funds are lacking. May I appeal to your kindness to please help these poor patients? Any amount will be highly appreciated.

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The Lord said, “Whatever you did to the least of My brethren, you did it for Me” (Mt. 25:40).

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