Gospel: Mt 7:15-20
Beware of false prophets: they come to you in sheep’s clothing; but inside, they are voracious wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Do you ever pick grapes from thorn bushes; or figs, from thistles?
A good tree always produces good fruit. A rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit; and a rotten tree cannot bear good fruit. Any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruit.
Among the three saints we are remembering today, Thomas More stands out as particularly interesting, especially for lay people.
Born in 1477 of a middle class family, he was educated at Oxford, became a lawyer, married and had four children. He also frequented humanists such as Erasmus, took an interest in literature, published a famous work of fiction entitled Utopia (1516), while making his mark as a lawyer. Eventually King Henry VIII noticed him and made him one of his counselors, knighted him in 1521 and made him Lord Chancellor of England in 1529. Meanwhile Henry VIII was seeking to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon, with the permission of the Pope. The latter refused to grant the divorce and the king severed all connections with Rome, declaring himself the Head on earth of the Church of England. More sided with the Pope and was arrested in 1534, tried for treason, and executed by decapitation on July 6, 1535. He died after joking merrily with his executioner, affirming that he died “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” St. Thomas More exemplifies the well-educated layman who combined learning, sense of humor, and profound spirituality.
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