There are real prophets sent from the Lord Himself to whom we are instructed to listen – and there are false prophets whom we are warned against. How do we tell if a prophet is sent by God or if he/she is really on the side of evil, or of self? In scripture, Jesus tells us that good trees produce good fruit and bad trees bad fruit. We can discern a prophet’s origin by the “fruit” produced. Is he/she self-serving? power-hungry? arrogant?
In the psalm, we sing, “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Most of us, I would dare say, have never actually heard God’s voice – at least not in the way that Moses heard it in the burning bush. However, we do have the voice of God in the Bible – the book that He inspired human authors to write. As Catholics, we sometimes minimize the importance of reading the bible. In fact, we should not only read it (or listen to God’s word) on Sundays, but should read it everyday – and meditate upon it. I’m going to attach a link to a short “Young Catholic Minute” video that humorously emphasizes this point. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I first saw it.
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, reminds us to make God our first priority in life. When we place God first – even before our spouse/family members – then things tend to “work together for the good of those who love Him.” Romans 8: 28 Remember: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6: 33 I inevitably find that when I start the day with “God time,” my day flows much better. You can’t give away what you don’t have. When you allow God to fill you with His grace first, it will naturally flow from you to others with whom you come into contact.
In the gospel today, Jesus speaks with authority, and all are amazed. Again, are we in awe of Jesus’ words and actions or have they become “ho-hum” to us – just another story we’ve heard a hundred times over? Do we make the effort to dig deeper?
Jesus uses the authority that He has been given by God to teach and to serve. Humans often use their authority to lord it over others, to manipulate, to be-little. Jesus teaches us the meaning of true authority. He drove out demons, the most crippling of all human ailments – the one that affects the very soul – with simple, yet authoritative words. It is so reassuring to know that as followers of Christ, we do not have to fear evil. We have Jesus on our side! Just the mention of His name makes the demons flee! How great is our God!