June 22, 2016
(St. Thomas More, Martyr)
. . . the king made a covenant before the LORD that they would follow Him and observe His ordinances, statutes and decrees with their whole hearts and souls, thus reviving the terms of the covenant which were written in this book. And all the people stood as participants in the covenant. 2_Kgs_22:8-13;23:1-3
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 thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” Mt_7:15-20
There’s something very hopeful in our readings today, even though they may sound a little harsh and foreboding. To begin with, Jesus is warning His disciples to be very cautious of what we might call: ‘snake-oil salesmen.‘
We all remember those door-to-door people who would offer you the world, and then after you’d spent your life savings, you’d come to find out, that all you got for your time and money was a little bottle of dirty water.
And it really IS no different today. As a matter of fact, it’s actually much worse. Because today’s snake-oil salesmen, come with deceiving titles like pro-choice, affordable healthcare, and presidential candidates, that affect – not only us, but the whole country.
So, just as in the days of Jesus, we need to be very careful with whose agenda we choose to follow.
I usually tell people who aren’t real familiar with the Scriptures, that we can easily distinguish between the works of Satan and the works of God.
– If it has anything to do with compassion, unity and life, it’s most likely from God.
– But if it has anything to do with hatred, separation and death, you can guarantee – it’s from the evil one.
And just like Jesus, we won’t point fingers, but, as the saying goes: “you can’t get grapes from a thorn bush, or figs from a thistle.” And our country has been undermined by thorns and thistles for quite some time now.
And yet, straight from the readings of the Old Testament, we can find Hope. You see, the nation of Israel, back in the days of God’s prophets and kings, had very much fallen away from believing in God. And it all stemmed from a lack of leadership coming from the kings who ruled their nation.
Looking at the descendants of King David, we would see some kings who worshiped idols, and some who would lead the people back to God. King Josiah, who was ruling Israel at the time of today’s reading, was one of those “good” kings who worked at bringing the people back to the Lord.
After generations of idol-worshiping kings before him, King Josiah showed – how it truly was possible to change a Culture – at least for the lifetime of a good king. King Josiah began by rebuilding God’s Temple that had fallen into ruin.
Then, by supporting the priests and the people, Josiah accepted the long forgotten – precepts and laws of God. And he made sure that the people followed those laws, not only for their own good, but for the good of the whole nation.
So today, instead of hopelessly picturing our whole country, and our whole world doomed, with bad leadership, the story of Josiah gives us the Hope, that it IS possible – to rebuild a world which seems to have lost all sense of morality and common sense. And that’s important for our children and our grandchildren, and even for ourselves.
So, we never give up hope.
We keep on praying and modeling
the love of Jesus to everyone.
And we always remember to cautiously discern the snake-oil salesmen from the true children of God,
. . . loving them all in the process!
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