show me the fruit
"That should be the proof they need." —Matthew 8:4
St. Paul was once a "leper" to Christians, a vicious persecutor of those who followed Jesus. He was converted but the community didn't believe it, and wouldn't allow Paul into the circle of Christians. St. Barnabas was convinced of Paul's genuine, authentic conversion and persuaded the community. The best way Paul could give evidence of his healing from "leprosy" was to produce good fruit and so glorify God (see Jn 15:8).
St. Mark was a "leper" in that he deserted the first Christian missionary journey (see Acts 13:13; 15:38). Barnabas gave Mark another chance. While Paul refused to believe that Mark was genuinely healed and ready to evangelize again, Barnabas believed in Mark. The best way Mark could give evidence of his healing was to produce good fruit and so glorify God (see Jn 15:8).
Healed and converted "lepers" are accountable to God, not man. They need not prove themselves before men. However, some people need evidence of full conversion and healing (see Mt 3:8), and the best evidence is fruit (Mt 7:20), that is, undeniable holiness and good works for His kingdom.
All disciples of Jesus are preoccupied with bearing fruit for Him. If we just concentrate on bearing fruit for Jesus, God will take care of everything else we need. "Go forth and bear fruit" (Jn 15:16).
Prayer: Jesus, with my past sins I have been a leper. May I find my identity in You alone and spend the rest my life serving You fruitfully with love.
Promise: Jesus "said: 'I do will it. Be cured.' " —Mt 8:3
Praise: "Irenaeus" is the Greek word for "peace." "Blessed are the peacemakers" (see Mt 5:9). St. Irenaeus, pray for us.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
(Presentation Ministries offers a number of basic retreats that disciple and strengthen us in our faith. Check out www.presentationministries.com to see what is offered.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 18, 2013
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