The Gospel Today
Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
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 thornbushes, 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.”
Reflection (Sem. Jul Elden Nuique):
Jesus tells His disciples to beware of false prophets, but we can also see in this a reminder for us to be sincere in our lives. The way we can glean this reminder for a congruent life is to acknowledge that we, too, can be wolves in sheep’s clothing.
When I was thinking of entering the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary, I had a feeling that it would be a 6-year crash course in growing up. I was not wrong. For the first two years of priestly formation, I confronted myself, as I had never done before. I saw all that was sinful in me. Naturally, I would only be able to see those things as sinful, if I adopted the perspective of Christ. If I simply saw them with my own biased vision, I would make excuses for my psychological upbringing, the reinforced modeled behavior, and the various neuroses. Yet when I recalled all the hurtful words and actions that escaped me and wounded other people, then I acknowledged my sinfulness.
As a person being formed to become a priest, it is my responsibility to cooperate with God and be molded into the person of Christ as Head of the Church. That is not just an honorific but also a tremendous obligation to shepherd souls. Even for those not ordained into the priestly ministry, our Baptism makes us priests, and we have the indwelling of the Holy Trinity within each one of us. We also need to be like Christ to other people, to bring God and His goodness and love to their lives by our words and actions.
When we acknowledge our sinfulness, we become aware of the love and forgiveness that God has given us. We no longer pretend to be perfect individuals who never do anything wrong. We accept that without God we can do nothing.