Not All that Glitters is Gold

June 28, 2017 – Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (7:15-20)

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.”

Reflect: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. There’s an old saying that helps to highlight this gospel reading: “Not everything that glitters is gold.” In fact, we can be easily attracted to the glitter believing that it’s the answer to everything that we were searching for. Jesus’ instruction to us in this gospel is to be cautious, to test the fruit before we indulge. If what we are grasping for does not have a strong and healthy foundation, it is better to leave it beyond our reach.  As believers, Jesus is our foundation; he is our Rock, our Salvation.  Everything else pales in comparison. For a time, however, other things may seem to be very attractive, but, in the end, lead us into misery and destruction. In this digital age, we know how easy it is to make something look very different from what it is. No matter how creative someone may be, the essence of something remains the same. As much as Jesus warns us to be cautious of others and their bad fruit, he is also exhorting us to not let ourselves become bad fruit by partaking of the evil so accessible, and seemingly so attractive, in our world. Evil can sneak into our lives in sheep’s clothing. The closer we stay to Jesus and his word, the more likely we’ll be able to identify the ravenous wolves for what they are.

Questions: Do I find myself “flirting” with bad fruit rationalizing that it isn’t so bad? Do I believe that I’m strong enough to recognize what is good and evil without discerning in prayer and with other people of strong faith? Might Jesus be trying to “wake me up” to recognize how I could be playing with the devil?

Pray: Loving God, you are my hope and salvation. Send your Holy Spirit upon me so that I may have clarity of heart and mind and choose what is life giving for myself and others. I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint Irenaeus: Pray for us!

Saint Irenaeus was born near Smyrna in what is present day Izmir, Turkey. He served as bishop of Lyons for 25 years. He worked hard and wrote extensively to debunk the Gnostic heresy that led many Christians astray by denying creation, the Incarnation and the Trinity. He died in 202.                                     

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