We must obey God.

“Weeds for sale! Pick your own!”

Would you pay someone just so that you could pick the weeds in his garden? More likely, you would expect that person to pay you! We all know how hard pulling weeds can be, but it’s necessary if we want a bountiful harvest. That’s why every avid gardener is committed to keeping weeds at bay. Knowing that his labor will produce good fruit—quite literally—makes the work worthwhile.

If you want to see what the fruit of a well-tended spiritual garden looks like, then look at today’s first reading. The apostles had been tending the garden of the Lord—the early Church—from the day of Pentecost. They had also been planting seeds of the gospel throughout Jerusalem. Clearly, this was not easy work. Today’s reading alone describes the kind of trials they had to endure. Their very lives were at stake!

So what made them so joyful and confident? From the start, the apostles were in the habit of pulling weeds out of their own hearts: weeds of self-righteousness and selfishness and pride. Weeds of arrogance and self-importance and vengeance. They worked on uprooting anything that might keep them from bearing joyful witness to Christ—even in the midst of threats and persecution.

Jesus wants us to keep weeding our own gardens as well. Of course, it isn’t always easy to stay vigilant. You never know when another weed is going to crop up. You never know when the seed of a temptation may sprout. At least not unless you are paying attention to the thoughts and desires of your heart.

If the “work” of tending your garden ever seems too hard, remember that Jesus has promised a full and rich harvest. He promises you nothing less than the love, the peace, the gentleness, and the patience that are the “fruit” of the Spirit living within you. (Galatians 5:22-23). So fix your attention on the kind of person Jesus is turning you into, and the daily toil will be well worth the effort!

“Lord, help me to focus on the bounty that you have promised for those who are faithful.”

Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-20
John 3:31-36
Acts 5:27-33


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