Daily Reflection – June 22, 2016
Wednesday 22 June 2016
First Reading: 2 Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3
Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord
Psalm 118(119):33-37, 40
Gospel Reading: Matthew 7:15-20
Today’s Saint: St John Fisher, Bishop, and St Thomas More, Martyrs (Optional Memorial
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them.”
By their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:20)
It makes sense. If you’re looking for apples, you wouldn’t search on a cherry tree. Or if you’re looking for blueberries, you wouldn’t go to a vineyard. But what does fruit have to do with the “false prophets” Jesus cautions against here?
A lot. When something is false, it is pretending to be something it’s not. Like a wolf trying to look like a sheep, false prophets may seem harmless, but their messages are dangerous. Like a wolf, they separate the sheep from the guidance and protection of the shepherd.
We typically think of false prophets as people who preach something different from the gospel—and that is accurate. But what if we were to look at our own inner voices as well? Probably more than anything else, these interior false prophets give us wrong messages about God. They contradict what we know of how deeply God loves us by condemning us, burdening us, or robbing us of our peace. Whenever we believe them, we end up confused about who we are in Christ. And that makes us confused about the way we relate to the people around us.
So what can you do? Look at the fruit! Take note of what’s going through your mind. If you find yourself feeling burdened, chase down that thought, and see where it’s coming from. Maybe you’ve taken on too many responsibilities because you feel that God won’t be satisfied with you. Remember that Jesus has made you a child of God, and you are precious to him. If you find yourself anxious, ask the Holy Spirit to help you get to the bottom of it. Maybe you’re afraid that God won’t take good enough care of you. Take a minute, and remind yourself of all the ways God has been close to you in the past.
There’s a good chance that if you experience peace, it’s coming from the Holy Spirit. And there’s an even better chance that if you’re feeling discouraged or beaten down, it’s not coming from the Spirit. With practice, you’ll get better at discerning these voices and dealing with any false prophet that comes to you in sheep’s clothing.
“Holy Spirit, help me to recognize the fruit of my thoughts and plans. I trust you to help me discern when I’m close to you and when I need to adjust my focus.”