By Their Fruits, You Shall Know Them

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“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)

The difference between a good tree and a bad one is not its shape, size, age or colour, rather, it is the fruits they produce. A tree may appear very nice on the outside but if it bears rotten fruits, it is a rotten tree. Two thousand years ago, Jesus already knew there would be false prophets.

I am guessing that perhaps, during His life, there were already false prophets going about deceiving people by pretence. On one occasion, Jesus’ disciples saw a man casting out demons in the name of Jesus even though he was not even a member of the twelve. (Cf. Mark 9:38, Luke 9:49). Jesus had not even been crucified yet and there were already signs of breakaway churches. It is also possible that by “false prophets”, Jesus was referring to the scribes and Pharisees who He described as whitewashed tombs that appear good on the outside but are full of dead men’s bones and all kinds of uncleanness inside. (Cf. Matthew 23:27).

It is not a secret today that there are many false prophets. In fact, social media is agog with the deeds and misdeeds of men and women of God. Jesus is teaching us today to avoid the error of categorizing everyone as the same. The fact that you discover a tree with rotten fruits does not mean there are no trees with good fruits. The fact that one priest or one pastor has misbehaved does not mean that we are all the same. You can always tell the difference by each person’s fruits.

Jesus wants us to be wise, to look before we leap, to realize that it is not everyone who addresses himself as a prophet that is there for our good. Some are agents of the devil sent to wreak havoc on gullible Christians. Jesus even said that on the last day many would come claiming to have worked miracles in His name but He would say: “I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!” (Luke 13:27). Shine your eyes, there are workers of iniquity out there. Watch out for their fruits.

In our first reading today the book of the Law was discovered while the workers were restoring the temple. It was a moment of revelation for the king and the people. They realized that God had earlier warned them through the prophets whom they ignored and that their present problems were a result of their neglect of God’s words. Child of God, do you still remember where your Bible is? At the beginning of the year, many of us resolved to finish the whole Bible but we have long abandoned it. It is not too late. Go and continue from where you stopped.

Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, free me from self-deception and pretence. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bible Study: 2 Kings 22:8-13,23:1-3, Ps. 119:33-37,40, Matthew 7:15-20)

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu

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