We often associate the Sermon on the Mount, as preached by Jesus, with the Beatitudes (“Blessed are they…”) The entire “teaching” by Jesus, His first in the Gospel, actually runs for two full chapters in length. Near the end of the Sermon, in chapter 7 of the Gospel, Jesus addresses the question of “true discipleship.” By their “fruits,” He says, by the way they behave is how they can be identified. He says that it is not just by what they say or the claims they make that they will stand out.
Jesus teaches that it is not possible for a bad tree to consistently produce good fruit, nor for a genuinely good tree to produce bad fruit. When we apply this to our own lives, isn’t it true that very often we try to make a good impression on people and we often try to hide from others what we believe to be our weaknesses? Integrity and transparency are precious qualities to be found in any person, but especially in a follower of the Lord, but they are not easy to maintain. Isn’t it true that most of us wear masks of some kind? Do we leave others with the impression that they are dealing with the real person and not a phony?
It is true, and not only in the Sermon on the Mount, that Jesus is constantly calling on us to be genuine people and true followers of His Way. “Take care of the inside and the outside will take care of itself.” St. Francis de Sales