February 27, 2022
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings prime us for the coming of Lent. Lent is all about the transformation of our hearts within of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.
But before we are ready for such transformation, we must be totally aware of ourselves and open to God’s Presence in our lives.
Our readings call us to a deep look at our spiritual integrity as it is revealed in our words and actions. The image of a good tree, bearing fruit, suffuses all our scriptures today.
What about the integrity of our words:
The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had;Sirach 27:6-7
so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind.
Praise no one before he speaks,
for it is then that people are tested.
What about the integrity of our faith:
The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,Psalm 92: 13-14
like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
What about the perseverance of our faithful labor:
Be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord,1 Corinthians 92:15-16
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
What about our actions – the fruit we bear to the world:
A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,Luke 6:43-54
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.
Let’s set our sights on the beginning of Lent which is now on the near horizon. How do we want to begin the transformative journey offered us once again in this magnificent liturgical cycle? Now is the time to prepare.
Poetry: Birches BY ROBERT FROST When I see birches bend to left and right Across the lines of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy’s been swinging them. But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning After a rain. They click upon themselves As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel. Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust— Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen. They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed So low for long, they never right themselves: You may see their trunks arching in the woods Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. But I was going to say when Truth broke in With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm I should prefer to have some boy bend them As he went out and in to fetch the cows— Some boy too far from town to learn baseball, Whose only play was what he found himself, Summer or winter, and could play alone. One by one he subdued his father's trees By riding them down over and over again Until he took the stiffness out of them, And not one but hung limp, not one was left For him to conquer. He learned all there was To learn about not launching out too soon And so not carrying the tree away Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise To the top branches, climbing carefully With the same pains you use to fill a cup Up to the brim, and even above the brim. Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish, Kicking his way down through the air to the ground. So was I once myself a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be. It’s when I’m weary of considerations, And life is too much like a pathless wood Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs Broken across it, and one eye is weeping From a twig’s having lashed across it open. I'd like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love: I don’t know where it's likely to go better. I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
Music: Tree Song – sung by Evie Karlsson