An interesting story is told of man who was looking for a job.
He was a man with bulging muscles.
>> However, he was somehow, unable to obtain a job for himself.
One day he saw an ad on the gate of a zoo for a man to play the part of a monkey!
>> He found this job quite strange…
… but his helpless situation forced him to take it up.
He was to put on an outfit of a monkey in the morning…
>> Get into the cage
>> Pensively walk up and down
>> Eat peanuts and bananas all through the day
>> And to jump from one tree to the other in the cage.
One day he was very exhausted and lost his balance as he was jumping from one tree to the other in the far corner of the cage.
>> He accidently fell into the cage of a lion which came charging on him.
With immense fear and trepidation, he cried aloud: “Help, help!”
The lion, however, in a calm voice, looking at him in his face, uttered:
“If you don’t shut up, we will both lose our jobs!!”
Both – the monkey and the lion – were actually real men…
… but disguise and pretence made them to appear and be perceived differently!
This humorous story, however, does cause us to reflect on an important trend that is often seen in our society…
… putting on a deceptive appearance, to achieve one’s aims and agenda
… donning a mask, to realise one’s goals – good or bad
The Gospel of the Day is a stern admonition by Jesus on the need “to become aware of spiritual deception and pretence” that can ruin our Christian Faith.
The world is fraught with a lot of dangers.
>> There are physical, social, emotional, environmental, intellectual , occupational dangers etc.
Most of the time, we are aware of these dangers…
And we take means and measures…
… to be protected from them
… and to keep ourselves free from harm.
But there is also another very important area to which, many of us…
… either remain ignorant
… or don’t pay much attention
… or take it very lightly
>> They are “Spiritual Dangers”
Today, the Gospel discusses one of the most powerful Spiritual Dangers: DECEPTION!
The power of this danger lies in the fact that it is…
… very “subtle”
… very “tricky”
… and apparently appears to be highly “good”!
Jesus cautions: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt 7:15)
The Lord begins today’s Gospel with the word, “BEWARE”!
This is a strong word that is used in Greek – “prosecho”
>> “pros” means ‘before’
>> “echo” means ‘hold’
Thus, “prosecho” means “hold before”!
>> BEWARE – Prosecho – means…
… to hold one’s mind back from
… never to expose one’s mind
Jesus in the previous verses had given an invitation to walk along the narrow gate…
>> “Enter through the narrow gate…” (Mt 7:13)
In this striving to “enter through” to the gate of life…
… Jesus issues a strict warning to be aware of the false prophets who would misguide and lead astray
>> “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing…” ( Mt 7: 15)
In Palestine, the most dangerous enemy of the sheep was the wolf!
It was a natural enemy, roaming the hills…
>> It would wait for a flock of sheep
>> At the precise moment, it would come out of its place of hiding
>> And snatch the sheep and rip it to shreds!
The sheep would be totally defenceless against such prowling wolves!
The Lord presents this imagery to His followers – His sheep: Of being aware of such “sheep-clothed” wolves!
We have in the world, today…
>> Many religious philosophies
>> Varied spiritual methods
>> A number of attractive theological views
… which present Religion in a very alluring, charming and pleasant way!
… which make Christianity as a bed of roses – cosy, comfy and casual!
But let us give heed to the Cry of the Lord: BEWARE!
>> Let us not bleed away our precious spiritual life and our Christian Faith!
>> Are we a seeking a Life…
… without the Cross and the Crucified Lord?
>> Are we fascinated to a Prosperity Gospel which glorifies richness & success & good social life…
… but nothing on repentance, virtuous life & inner holiness?
>> Are we attracted to “fiery preachers” and “awesome praise and worship” which appears good…
… but are deprived of the Real Sacramental Presence found only in the Catholic Church?
Let us also BEWARE and examine…
>> The books we read…
>> The talks we engage in…
>> The jokes we indulge in…
>> The habits we occupy ourselves with…
>> The music and the songs we delight in…
Are they all worthy of being “Christian”…
… or are they deceptively and subtly leading us away from the innocence and honesty of Christian Life?
Are they in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves?
Yes, we need to Beware!!
We need to examine:
>> Am I really on the watch, with respect to my spiritual life…
… or I am, exposing myself to the Deceptive techniques of Satan?
Jesus said: ” By their fruits, you will know them..”! (Mt 7:16)
Gal 5:22, “The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!”
In all our actions… and with respect to all peoples…
… let us weigh their truthfulness in the light of these “Fruits of the Holy Spirit”
… let us check their reliability by the yardstick of these “Fruits of the Holy Spirit”
>> The world will often resort to “deception and pretence” to suit its needs and wants…
>> The world will often take recourse to “deception and pretence” to rob spiritual resources…
… But, as Christians, we need to be aware, as well as be on our guard, constantly…
… preserving our innocence
… and keeping alight our light of faith!
God bless! Live Jesus!