The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Wednesday of the 12th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 7:15-20.

In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ continues to give guidance to the disciples to guide them on the journey towards Heaven. Here and in tomorrow’s Gospel, Christ warns against false prophets and false “Christians” who deliberately lead men away from the truth.

Warning of false prophets, Christ harshly compares them to ravenous wolves, thorn bushes, thistles and rotten wood. False prophets are known by their bad fruit; false teachings that oppose Christ’s teaching (and the full Magisterium today) and that lead souls away from Christ. Ominously, Christ reveals that the false prophets will be “thrown into the fire”, a reference to the eternal torment of Hell.

In contrast, Christ 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.” Christ is urging each man to be prudent, not accepting or following those in power who teach contrary to the fullness of Christ’s Gospel.

Awed by Jesus Christ –  Divine Prophet, Christ, with superb and memorable words, accurately predicts the many heretics in the Early Church and the false teachers in today’s Church; Divine King, He severely condemns them.  Divine Judge, Christ refers again to the fires of Hell and that false prophets are sent there for eternity.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men today are confronted with false prophets everywhere who are bearing the rotten fruit of cultural decay and lost souls: political leaders, judges, religious leaders, celebrities, scientists, academics, etc.  Marvel at how Christ’s warnings about false prophets continues to be critical in today’s culture, 2000 years after the Incarnation.

2) Sadly, Christ describes the false prophets within the Church during the past 50 years whose “bad fruit” (false teaching, liturgical abuse, sexual scandals, failure to evangelize, abandonment of men) has led to the collapse of the Church in many places with the loss of countless souls. Realize that despite various Scandals (CCC 2284-2287), the Church remains Holy (CCC 823-829) and preserves the Truth in the Magisterium (CCC 2032-2040). Pray that Christ cleanses His Church so that all priests fearlessly teach and practice the fullness of faith; also pray to be guided to good and holy priests.

3) Christ warns of the necessity of bearing good fruit and the horrific consequences of Hell (the fire) for those who bear rotten fruit. Renew your commitment to seek Christian Holiness (CCC 2012-2016). Pray for Christ to help you bear abundant good fruit.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – Saint Joseph

Virtue of the Day – Temperance

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful