Titus 2:1-8, 11-14;Psalm 37:3-4, 18, 23, 27, 29;Luke 17:7-10
Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Trust in the Lord and do good, that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security. (Psalm 37:3)
Did you know that a tree’s roots can extend way beyond the length of its branches and sometimes go as deep as the height of the tree?
When we think about trees, we often think about the magnificent height, the breathtaking canopy of the branches, and the fruit that many trees produce. But what happens underground? The roots do more than just provide food to keep the tree healthy. They also provide stability so that it can weather most storms. They help nourish the soil and prevent erosion. And they provide a home for many underground creatures. So God’s purpose for that tree extends below the ground as well as above the ground. If the roots aren’t growing in the right place or manner, the tree will die, and the entire environment around it will be affected.
This analogy can help us understand the thrust of today’s readings. In the first reading, St. Paul encourages us to strive to be good examples for all those who see us “above the ground”: our self-control, our perseverance, and our integrity. But he also asks us to consider what is happening “under the ground” in terms of our openness to the grace of God that is ours in Christ (Titus 2:11). Are we getting our stability and nutrients from the Lord?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is telling us that God wants us to be like the servants in the parable: bearing fruit when it’s convenient and when it’s difficult. Like every tree that produces a minimal harvest, we are “unprofitable servants” if we are concerned only with serving just enough to get by. Those who bear generous, abundant, joyful fruit bring gladness to the people around them.
Finally, in the psalm, we are exhorted to “trust in the Lord” and “take delight in the Lord” (Psalm 37:3, 4). God is reminding us that in order to be upright in this world and to bear the kind of fruit that refreshes our loved ones, we need to sink deep roots into the Lord, receiving all the nourishment and strength he has to give us.
So how can your roots grow deeper today?
“Lord, help me sink my roots into your word and your grace so that I can bear the fruit of your kingdom.”~wau