Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Psalm 105:1-4, 6-9
12th Week in Ordinary Time
Every good tree bears good fruit. (Matthew 7:17)
“I am becoming my mother!” How often have you heard a friend say that? Or perhaps you have said it yourself, as you hear yourself telling your children the very things your mother told you! Isn’t it funny how our parents’ philosophies and attitudes seep into us—only to resurface at the oddest times? For good or ill (most likely a mixture of both), we are our parents’ children, and their wisdom and folly both live on in us.
This observation helps us understand Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel: “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:18). Although Jesus is warning his apostles against false prophets, the analogy extends just as easily to parents. In many ways, we are the fruit of our parents—and our children are our fruit. Their character doesn’t develop randomly. Much of it comes from our example.
The old adage is true: children learn what they live. If we want them to be respectful, then we need to model respect to them. If we want them to be pure, then we must pursue purity ourselves. The same goes for their spiritual formation. Getting children to religious education classes will mean little to them unless we are also immersing ourselves in prayer, Scripture, and the life of the Church. Telling them to pray has far more impact if they see signs that we too are touching the presence of God and being transformed by his love.
Reflecting on these truths may be a little discouraging. But if you’ve realized that you’re not the world’s best parent, don’t give up. No one is. Instead, keep trying—and keep praying! The most important thing you can do is to get closer to God. As our heavenly Father, he’s the best model. Remember: you are not just the fruit of your parents; you are also a child of God, the perfect parent. When our children can sense his peace and joy in us, they will want to get to know him too. So call on him for the strength you need. He is always there!
“Father, hear the prayers of your children, and bring healing to all families. Reconcile those who are divided, and bind up their wounds. Restore them to the fullness of your love!”~wau