Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time, June 26
In the Midst of the Spiritual Battle in Which We Find Ourselves Today, May We Truly Make God’s Truth a Fundamental Part of Our Everyday Life.
In the times in which we live today, many people of faith recognize that we are in the midst of a great spiritual battle, good versus evil, and our Lord warns us in today’s Gospel, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.”
Within Sacred Scripture, there are numerous references to false prophets who mislead God’s children. This problem is not only ancient, but also exists and is very real in the world which we currently live today!
For example, in our modern age, I am sure we have all read or heard stories about those who found themselves being seduced by cult leaders who preyed upon the emotional or spiritual weaknesses of their followers. Yet, a more significant example can be found in the many today who fall prey to the seductions of materialism and consumerism, as well as clerics and religious of the Church who mislead God’s children by distorting God’s Truth!
As a consequence, we face a daily torrent of ideas, information, and philosophies in this world, which only serve to distract us from the call to love God with all our hearts and to love others selflessly.
Think of the various ways which the false prophets of today can overpower all other considerations – especially when these perversions of Divine Truth along with secular temptations and philosophies make hollow promises of personal happiness. For many find themselves easily spending all their time serving only their own leisure, entertainment and personal ambitions, and embracing the false teachings which deceive and misinform those whose hearts are closed to the magisterial teachings of the Church.
By contrast, Jesus – the true Prophet of God – tells us that true happiness is found in being poor in spirit, showing mercy, and striving for purity of heart. And He cautions us, “By their fruits you will know them” – a phrase which our Lord emphasizes twice in today’s Gospel!
The voice of the false prophet, the voice of relativism in all its forms – moral, ethical, cultural and theological – is a voice which has led many of our brothers and sisters of every faith persuasion astray, and continues to do so even today.
It is a voice which seduces and lures many to embrace a false truth – in essence a lie which does not give an enduring peace or lasting joy. And our Lord warns us today, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
The past archbishop of Washington, D.C., Donald Cardinal Wuerl, once stated in an interview he gave to Dr. John Haas of the National Catholic Bioethics Center that our failure to recognize the “wolves” that are within our midst “jeopardizes our ability to hold the dangers of relativism at bay.”
For the fruits of relativism are pervasive and insidious – abortion on demand, same-sex marriages, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LBGT) pride rallies openly endorsed by many politicians along with large store chains and the liberal media, as well as several members of the Catholic clergy, and the fact that Christians in general are systematically losing the basic right to openly express the religious and moral convictions of our faith.
For those who embrace the Catholic faith and all that it holds dear, it is so important to listen to the teaching authority, the Magisterium, of our Holy Church, which has studied the Scriptures, the writings of the early Fathers and Tradition dating from the earliest days of Christianity. And it has placed the fullness of Divine Truth in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which was approved by Pope St. John Paul II. In this way, we are strengthened against the deceptions of relativistic thinking.
But being guided down the right path also depends upon our truly humbling ourselves before God, so that our hearts may then become opened to accepting and living the only Truth that matters – God’s Truth as given from the Father’s Love for us, through the Eternal Word made flesh for our salvation, and by means of the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.
And it is God’s unwavering Love and guiding Presence which we find in today’s Readings. In our First Reading from the Book of Genesis, God establishes His covenant with Abram, a covenant of love – an agreement that Abram would father a great nation which would inherit the land God promised, and a nation from which, one day, would come forth the Messiah, who would establish a “new covenant” in His Blood.
And, in this “new covenant,” Jesus teaches us the fullness of God’s Truth – a Truth which guides us, a Truth which enlightens us to remain on the path which can lead to a true inner happiness, a true interior peace – a path on which we shall ultimately bear good fruit in the life we live.
It is when we deny God’s Truth and look to other truths – the lies which deceive and mislead – that only bad fruit can then result.
When we look at our world today, what do we see? For people of faith, we see a general loss of morality, and human conduct which no longer recognizes the sanctity and integrity of human life:
Abortions, on a worldwide scale, are sadly as commonplace as you or I going to a corner deli. Scientists, through medical engineering, are harvesting stem-cells from both frozen and cloned embryos, thereby destroying human life.
Same sex marriages and pre-marital sex are, more and more, becoming the norm in societies around the world, where traditional marriage values and chastity are frowned upon. And a contraceptive mentality becomes a model for our own sexual conduct – and is just as addictive as pornography, and just as sinful, for it defies the will of God in our lives.
When we begin to think that OUR way is the better way, when we begin to accept this lie as a new standard of truth which we ultimately live, the result can only be not just bad fruit, but fruit which is truly rotten, for it is a fruit which is totally void of God’s Loving Presence, a fruit which will be “…cut down and thrown into the fire”!
So the question begs to be asked by faithful Christians, “Where will this all end and when will it end?” By virtue of our royal priesthood in Jesus Christ through the Baptism we have received, we each share in the prophetic mission of bringing God’s Truth to the world in which we live.
Our Lord needs both you and me to speak and live His Truth in a world which has been blinded by so much moral corruption. We do this through prayer as God’s “prayer warriors.” We do this through the example we live. We do it through peaceful means. And we do it always with love and with whatever gifts we have been blessed.
When we look to the example which the saints have set for us, they were not ashamed to speak out about what is true and what is right. They did not shy away from being witnesses to the teachings of God’s Truth. That is why they are now enjoying the eternal peace and joy which can only be found in Heaven. And is that not something we also desire for ourselves?
Let us pray that, for the sake of God’s Kingdom here on Earth, our lives may bear good fruit. Let us pray that the Spirit of Truth may help us to grow in the fruits which truly matter, as Paul teaches us in his Letter to the Galatians: “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Jesus says to us today, “By their fruits you will know them.”
In the midst of the spiritual battle in which we find ourselves, may we truly make God’s Truth a fundamental part of our everyday life! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:15-16a)
- “Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19)
- “The beast was caught and with it the false prophet who had performed in its sight the signs by which he led astray those who had accepted the mark of the beast and those who had worshiped its image. The two were thrown alive into the fiery pool burning with sulfur.” (Revelation 19:20)
- “Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
- “[God] is not the God of disorder but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33a)
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
- “Do not harden your hearts…I said: ‘This people’s heart goes astray; they do not know my ways.’ Therefore I swore in my anger: ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” (Psalm 95:8a, 10b-11)
- “So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)
- “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law…If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-23, 25)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord God, my Savior and my dearest Friend,
I pray for the grace and the strength
to remain faithful to Your teachings
and to the Sacramental life of the Church.
“Help me to persevere in the commitments
and promises I have made to You.
Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation
I received during my Baptism as Your faithful child.
“Help me to place love and service to You
before all else in my life,
remaining true to Your Truth,
not abandoning myself to the lies and deceits of Satan.
“Grant me the grace to be a holy example for others,
never abandoning Your laws for my own sake.
May I be a model of faithfulness and selfless love,
giving You honor and glory both now and forever. Amen.”Anonymous