Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection June 26, 2024


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R/. Lord, teach me the way of your statutes.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. Abide in me, and I in you, says the Lord; he who abides in me bears much fruit.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thornbushes? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

1.      There is a rampant “mask” culture. The real character often is under pretensions and disguises. Many go about with a lot of duplicities, giving an appearance and colouring of being good and holy. But in truth, they are only hiding their bad nature under a good cover. This is what Jesus calls, “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

2.      Quite true to Jesus’ warning, there are many false prophets all around us who wear sheep’s clothing but are inwardly ravenous wolves. These project themselves as meek, humble, and pure like sheep. They appear to be harmless. But inside they are full of aggressiveness, and destructive nature.

3.      They wait for every little chance to pounce on others and harm them grievously. But how do we find them out? Is there any criterion, any test to uncover their real colour? It is by looking at their fruits.

4. As Jesus cautions, these are the bad or diseased trees. They pretend to bear good fruit. But they bear only bad fruit. A bad tree cannot bear good fruit. These are the thorn bushes and they cannot produce grapes or figs. Their end will only be destruction, just as every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

5. The falsity, deceptiveness, and failure of the test of the authenticity of these false prophets should serve as a caution, warning, and challenge for all of us not to fall into the same trap. Instead of bad or diseased trees, we must be good trees that bear good fruits. We must not be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Rather we must be sheep in sheep’s clothing.

6.      For this, like the king of Judah and all his people in the first reading, we must constantly rediscover and renew our covenant with the Lord. We must resolve to “walk after the Lord, to keep his commandments, his testimonies and his statutes with all our heart and all our soul”.

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