Memorial of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Father of the Church

“Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:17.)

In commenting on these verses from today’s Gospel, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“Even though Jesus seems to make virtually the same point a second time, it is hardly redundant. For in the second time around he prevents anyone from concluding, “The evil tree bears evil fruit, but it also bears good fruit, so as to make it difficult to recognize an evil tree, because the crop is of two kinds.” No. Jesus says, “This is not so. For the evil tree bears only evil fruits and would never bear good fruits. So also it is the same way with the opposite kind of tree.”

What then? Is there no such thing as a good person who becomes corrupt? Or a corrupt person who becomes good? Isn’t life full of many examples of such reversals? But the Messiah is not saying that the evil person is incapable of changing or that the good person will never fail in anything. But he is saying that so long as a person is living in a degenerate way, he will not be able to generate good fruit. For he may indeed change to virtue, being evil, but while continuing in wickedness, he will not bear good fruit.

What then? Did not David, even though good, bear evil fruit? No, because he did not bear evil fruit while remaining good but while being changed. For if indeed he had remained continually good as he had been, he would not have produced the bad fruit. For it surely was not while abiding in the habits of excellence that he had the audacity to do the very things that he had the audacity to do.” (The Gospel of Matthew: Homily, 23.)

O God,
Who made the Bishop Saint Cyril of Alexandria
an invincible champion of the divine motherhood
of the most Blessed Virgin Mary,
grant, we pray,
that we, who believe she is truly the Mother of God,
may be saved through the Incarnation of Christ Your Son
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen