Jesus warns to reject false prophets whom God will destroy. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Generosity so he can support Christ’s work to cleanse the priesthood and raise up holy priests and by seeking the Gift of Piety from the Holy Spirit so he can strive for personal holiness and bear abundant good fruit.

Liturgy

12th Week in Ordinary Time – Wednesday – Mt 7:15-20

Commentary

In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, after warning that the Narrow Way (holiness) leads to Heaven and the wide way (sin) leads to Hell, Jesus continues to give guidance to the disciples to help them on the journey towards Heaven. Here, Jesus warns against false prophets and false “Christians” who deliberately lead men away from His truth of the Gospel.

Warning of false prophets, Jesus harshly compares them to ravenous wolves, thorn bushes, thistles and rotten wood. False prophets reveal themselves by their bad fruit, false teachings that oppose the fullness of the teaching of Jesus (and the full Magisterium today), lies that lead souls away from Him. Ominously, Jesus reveals that the false prophets will be “thrown into the fire”, a reference to the eternal torment of Hell that awaits all those who lead innocent souls astray. Elsewhere, Jesus confirms (Mt 12:33-37, omitted from the Liturgy), in the Judgment, men will be either justified or condemned by their own words.

In contrast, Jesus explains how to identify good prophets, the true apostles of Christ. True apostles are like good trees that bear good fruit, good vines that bear grapes, and bushes that bear figs. While Christ is not explicit in describing “good” fruit, it likely must include personal holiness, teaching the fullness of Christ’s Gospel, and the drawing of men to the King. Jesus twice repeats the phrase “by their fruits you will know them”, urging each man to be prudent, not accepting or following those in power who teach contrary to the fullness of Christ’s Gospel. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Marvel at Jesus, the Divine Prophet and the perfection of Truth (a part of Justice), as He Warns men to avoid false prophets who do not teach the fullness of Truth, and though they appear to be legitimate (in sheep’s clothing), are in reality evil (ravenous wolves), a warning that continues to be especially urgent during these days, 2000 years after the Incarnation. 

Pray for Jesus to cleanse His priesthood

Realize: Tragically, Jesus’ ancient warning about false prophets accurately describes false prophets within the Church in recent decades whose “bad fruit” includes the failure to proclaim the fullness of Christ’s Truth, homosexuality in the priesthood, sexual scandals, liturgical abuse, failure to evangelize and catechize, and the abandonment of men; these false prophets have contributed to the collapse of the Church in many places and the loss of countless souls.

Believe: Reflect upon Scandals (CCC 2284-2287, 2326), the Catholic Church is Holy (CCC 823-829) and The Magisterium (CCC 2032-2040). 

Pray: Jesus, Divine Protector, I beg you to cleanse Your Holy Catholic Church so every priest remains chaste and fearlessly proclaims the fullness of Your Truth; help me build the Virtue of Generosity (a part of Justice), so I generously support the calling and formation of holy and heroic Catholic priests. 

Strive for holiness and to bear good fruit

Realize: Jesus warns of the necessity to grow in holiness so that a man can bear good fruit and the horrific consequences of Hell (the fire) for those who bear rotten fruit; holy hearts bear holy fruit and are preparing for Heaven and rotten hearts bear rotten fruit and are preparing for Hell. 

Believe: Reflect upon the call to Seek Christian Holiness (CCC 2012-2016).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Piety so I am always inspired and strengthened to grow in holiness and can bear abundant good fruit which helps build the Kingdom of God; strengthen me by allowing me to receive Your Most Holy Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.