2 Kings 22:8-13,23:1-3
Matthew 7:15-20


We have just begun to enjoy the first fruits of a lemon tree I planted a couple of years ago in an effort to live more sustainably. When I bought it, it had the tag of ‘Lisbon Lemon’ a variety that grows well in our area and produces good fruit. As we have nurtured it and watched it grow, it has been obvious that it is a citrus tree and most likely a lemon, as it differs from the lime tree beside it. It is only now with the fruit that we can know that it is a Lisbon lemon. It has integrity as Lisbon lemon tree- it looks and tastes like a Lisbon lemon tree and it is acting like a Lisbon lemon tree. It is fully integrated in it’s Lisbon lemoniness.

Today’s readings are also about the fruits we see and integrity. The people of Israel were known for their relationship with the one God but there were periods where they did not live the covenant that God had established with them and worshipped other gods, leading them to times of disaster and anguish. In today’s reading they once again pledge their allegiance to God led by King Josiah after the public reading of the Book of the Law (scholars are not exactly sure what this document was). It is telling that the book is found in renovations to the Temple, it had ceased to be a reference point for how the people would live their lives.

In the gospel, Jesus warns that fruit comes from the tree it belongs to and that a bad tree produces bad fruit. This again speaks to integrity or as Pope Francis often speaks the synergy of head, heart and hands.  We can know a lot about people from their ‘fruits’. Those with integrity have consistency in what they say and do. Their fruit- their words and actions are consistent with their Christian tree, grown from their relationship with Jesus.

Alison Gore is a parishioner at St Paul of the Cross, Glen Osmond. She works in education and formation.