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 thorn bushes,
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."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, before I can produce anything
lasting in my life, I need to be united to
you in prayer. Aware of my weakness and inclination to
sin, I trust all the more in your forgiveness and
mercy. I believe in your presence in the Eucharist. It
gives me the assurances that you really are with your
Church until the end of time.
Lord, help me to see more easily the goodness in
people around me.
1. Wolves in Sheepskins:
Today we abound with information, but are short on guidance.
The media tell us that abortion is OK, that stem-cell
research on human embryos is compassionate, that same-sex marriage equals
tolerance. Wayward faithful ignore or insult papal teachings. "The time
will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but,
following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers
and will stop listening to the truth and will be
diverted to myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4). How do I judge
what I hear day by day? How do I gauge
what the media tell me? Do I absorb everything I
hear like a sponge? Or do I try to find
out what the Church says on issues? Am I aware
of how much the media can steal my interior peace?
That it can leave me thinking in a very worldly
2. See The Fruits: Our Lord
gives us a good criterion for gauging the work of
other people: We are to look at what they produce.
The people we see daily on television -- do their
lives seem peaceful and happy? Are their families stable? Often,
the most stable among us are those who live low-key
lives. God often chooses to work outside of the spotlight.
He works in those families that quietly raise their children
in the faith. What lasting fruits am I producing for
God? If married, have I been open to new life?
If single, do I dedicate a fair amount of time
to serving others? Do I help my friends learn about
Christ? Do I help worthwhile charities?
Misjudging: The problem of judging can go the other direction.
We might think that someone isn´t a good person, or
that he isn´t very talented. Yet we are surprised, sometimes
years later, to find that same person living in a
near-perfect marriage, raising a happy family, or producing a thriving
work of charity. Was our initial judgment faulty? If so,
why? Do we recognize and appreciate virtue in others? Or
are we fixated on the externals: Their looks? Their wealth?
Their bubbly personality? What does that say about my hierarchy
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I
am surrounded by views of the world -- so many
opinions, so much information. I sometimes feel overwhelmed. Let me
see in your vicar on earth, the Pope, the safe
and sure path to follow in the midst of confusion.
Resolution: I will compliment someone for the
hidden, but lasting, work they are doing for the Kingdom.