As I began reflecting upon today’s gospel and the idea of “bearing good fruit” I thought about how it takes time to bear fruit. If we plant a seed we know it will take time for the seed to grow before it ever bears fruit. On the other hand, if we walk into an orchard that has been established for years and it is the season for fruit we expect to see fruit.
How soon do we expect to see people bear fruit? When someone new comes into our life do we expect to see them do good things right away? My reflection led me to realize that today is the first anniversary of the day I came to St. Michael’s. I wonder what people think of me know compared to one year ago. I would imagine that some people were very excited when I first arrived, maybe because of something I said or just the first impression they had. I would also imagine that others weren’t so excited, perhaps because they just don’t like change, others still wishing Fr. Felix hadn’t passed away, while still others heard something different from me than those who liked me. To each his own. Now, after one full year here, I’m sure some people’s opinion of me has changed. Some who didn’t like may have to like me more. On the other hand, some who liked me initially may not be so sure.
Jesus was not liked by everyone so I don’t expect everyone to like everything I do. While, like most humans, I like to know I am appreciated, my role as pastor is not to be liked. I do feel generally appreciated and valued here but I know my role is to do the work that Christ has sent me to do. As I said Mass this morning, I thought about today as the Memorial of St. Irenaus, the Bishop of Lyons who was martyred in 202 A.D. because he stood for the truth of our faith. That’s what I want to do. No, I don’t want to be martyred but I do want to always stand for the truth of our faith that God has given us through Christ our Lord.