GOSPEL, Matthew (7: 15-20)
Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew
A Tree and Its Fruit
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.
The Gospel of the Lord
Jesus compares the good prophets to healthy trees and the bad to bad trees. Just as “Healthy trees bear healthy fruit, evil trees bear evil fruit,” so are the prophets.
With this comparison, he warns us of the need to pay close attention to false prophets. They look like tame sheep, but they are fierce wolves; they speak softly but hide a selfish heart.
St. John the Baptist had the courage to denounce the disguise of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They ran to Him, but they had no desire to make amends. To these he said harshly,
“ 7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9 Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. ” (Mt 3:7-10).
Words on their own are not enough and so, it is necessary to practice what you preach. The good and authentic prophet must be consistent in Word and action.
In order to get to know people properly, we must be prepared to see deeper than the surface, allowing us to determine their intentions, whether for good or evil, truth or deceit. The disciple of Jesus knows and practices the beatitudes, prays daily, forgives and loves all, including those who wish him ill, is completely selfless and does not judge or condemn others. The authentic disciple of Jesus thinks, speaks and acts like Jesus.
Only in prayer to the Father, creating a personal dialogue with Him, listening to and assimilating his Word, in the silence of his heart, may the authentic prophet be able to reach the true believer.
Lord, allow the vitality of your Spirit to bear fruit in us, by practising the Beatitudes and listening to your word in prayer and silence. Amen.