“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Both our first reading and Gospel passage today spoke about false and fake teachers. How do we identify such teachers? Firstly, they are teachers who do not practice what they teach, wolves in sheep clothing, actors on stage and devils in secret. We are not what we say we are, we are what we do. Jesus referred to such teachers as blind guides (Matthew 14:14), whitewashed tombs outwardly appearing beautiful but are full of uncleanness (Matthew 23:27).
Sighting the example of the widow’s offering, Jesus teaches us that God looks at the heart not merely at our external show. The size of the widow’s faith in offering two copper coins was a testament to her faith in God’s providence. Her offertory was of little monetary value (God does not need our money), yet because of her faith, God valued it more than that of others. We can go on deceiving people but we cannot deceive God because God sees the heart.
Secondly, false and fake teachers are people who become professionals in telling people exactly what they like to hear. St. Paul seemed to have seen a vision of our day and time when he wrote these words: “people will no longer endure sound teaching but with itching ears will gather teachers to suit their own likings.”
Gone are the days when people listened to sermons, shed tears over their sins, decided to repent or deepen their love for God. Today, sermons have become motivational speeches; how to make more money, how to attract the right spouse or how to make enemies die by force. Instead of pleading with God, we command God while praying, we even assume God’s authority to declare and decree things to excite the people.
Although writing specifically to Timothy, Paul’s words apply to all teachers today: “Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2). Any preaching that fails to convince, rebuke and exhort leads the Christian to wallow deeper in evil.
While St. Paul boasts of the sufferings he endured for Christ’s sake, today’s false and fake teachers tell us to reject every form of suffering because that is exactly what we like to hear. Dear friends, be careful; don’t be entrapped by falsehood wrapped in the garment of Christianity.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, may I never worship you in vain. Amen.
Bible Study: 2nd Timothy 4:1-8, Psalm 71, Mark 12:38-44).