IDENTIFYING FALSE PREACHERS
Meditation for Thursday of 11th Week in Ordinary Time
(2 Cor 11:1-11; Mt 6:7-15)
Oftentimes, fake products appear more appealing and affordable than the original. We easily fall for lies more than the truth because they taste sweeter and are easier to accept. Fake prophets and those who teach and practice wrong doctrines gather more crowd than good shepherds of Christ. “For I have come in my Father’s name and you do not accept me. If another comes in his name, you will accept him” (Jn 5:43). This was the issue St Paul faced in the first reading of today. He marveled how the people he evangelized allowed themselves to be deceived by false preachers, who took advantage of them and made gains from their pockets. St Paul preached and worked among them without demanding anything from them, instead, his needs were supplied by the brethren from Macedonia. But the people abandoned the gospel truth and the example he taught them and followed the false and easy ways of those who deprived them, burdened them, and deceived them with false doctrines.
Following the example of Jesus Christ, a good shepherd always lays down his life for the sheep; a bad shepherd or wolf feeds on the sheep! These false preachers are louder, instilling fear in people to manipulate them, and they make the kingdom of man on earth the endpoint of their message. All these sell out in the name of Jesus Christ! And they walk away with huge gains to their advantage.
From the Gospel of today, we learn also that a false preacher can be identified by his way of praying, “For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Jesus the Good Shepherd then taught us to pray the ‘Our Father’, which shows us how a true believer places God, His Kingdom, and well over and above everything, and looks upon Him to receive his daily bread, the forgiveness of sins, and deliverance from evil. Let us be true in our worship and practice of our faith so that we would not fall prey to false preachers who distract us from the Kingdom of God.
Our help is in the name of the Lord; who made heaven and earth! Amen.