I think that what was my on heart this week during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was the idea of false prophets and the unclean spirit that Christ our Lord expelled from the man.
PS- PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
2- 1 Cor 7:32-35
Gospel- MK 1:21-28
In the reading from Deuteronomy, we here from Moses about a prophet that will be raised up from mankind (Jesus) and who will speak the Word of God. God the Father confirms this, but then He goes on to tell us, “but if a prophet presumes to speak in my name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.” Here, the Lord is warning us against the false prophets thorough the millennia and centuries before Christ and after Christ. I think that in today’s world, this warning should be heeded more than anything else. We hear from politicians, mentors, public figures, and even from members of the clergy of our own Church about the things and events of this world. In the name of “social justice” they tout high ethics that champion supposedly for all. But I wonder if this is really the case? And if they truly do seek Truth and Justice for such things, the question becomes whether or not we should worry about such things. Now, I am definitely not saying that we shouldn’t follow what Christ had taught us in the Beatitudes and throughout His ministry of helping the lowly, but I question if we should focus so heavily on such things and forget the Lord. Remember, in the same reading, we hear from the Lord, “Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name, I myself will make him answer for it.” Perhaps we become so focused on the worldly problems that we forget our telos, that is of salvation in Jesus Christ . . . I think this might be why we hear from 1 Corinthians along with Deuteronomy. In the passage from St. Paul he says, “I should like you to be free of anxieties . . . man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided . . . I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.” St. Paul is warning of focusing on the those things that do not come from the Lord our God. He says that unmarried men and women focus on the Lord, but those who are married focus on the world. Now this is not the case in the context of a sanctified matrimony, but I believe what we are hearing is that as we become more worldly, we listen to those things that divide us from the Lord more and more. St. Paul is asking us to always remember what it means to be chosen children of God.
The Gospel gives a clue as to how false prophets operate. Granted, it is rather evident in the Gospel that there is an unclean spirit, but I think it is rather interesting that we hear the unclean spirit profess that Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God. Isn’t this what false prophets are about? They readily say that Christ is the Holy One of God, but then they immediately turn their backs on Him and focus on those worldly things (I am thinking particularly those politicians that profess Catholicism as their faith, but then go around and support travesties such as abortion). How can we listen to these men and women who are false prophets so readily? Well, they make it enticing. Sin is a whole lot easier than the path of righteousness. So how do we counter-act the false prophets? We follow what Christ taught us. We live our lives as good and faithful Christians who unerringly (as much as possible) follow in the Way. Further, we can take an example from this very Gospel, “Quiet! Come out of him!” Christ commands with authority this unclean spirit out of the man and restores him in life. We have that same authority (I am not suggesting trying to exorcise things, there is a priest for that who has the proper faculties)! We, in the name of Christ our Lord, have the authority to preach the Good News and show others to Him by virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation in the Faith.
So let us go out, cast out the false prophets and follow the Lord.
Here is my only warning . . . do not become false prophets yourselves. Do not forget the Way of Christ. We have the ability to do great things, but we also have the ability to create great scandal. “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, Where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works.” In the Psalm we very clearly hear this warning. If at any moment you lose yourself to the world, stop and sit with God. Reboot, do what you have to. Just don’t become a false prophet, there are enough of those in the world today as it is.