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Posts Tagged ‘false prophets’


Matthew 28:8-15: Fake News

Monday, April 9, 2018

In this second week of Eastertide, we continue to relive the Easter miracle of our resurrection. We re-visit the Gospel readings for the Easter Octave, and today we reflect on the false news that abounded in Jesus’ time just as it does with us today.

While [Mary Magdalene and the other Mary] went on their way, some of the soldiers guarding the tomb went back to the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 

Wherever there is darkness, the light of Christ will pierce deceit and lies.

The chief priests met with the elders and made their plan; they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers and said, “You are to say that his disciples came during the night and stole his body while you were asleep.

Wherever there is secrecy, the power of God will overcome plots and schemes.

And if the Governor should hear of this, we will convince him that you are innocent, and you will have nothing to worry about.”

Wherever there is hatred, the consolation of the Spirit will heal with justice and mercy.

The guards took the money and did what they were told to do. And so that is the report spread around by the Jews to this very day.

Wherever there is false news, we rely on the authority of God to lead us to the truth. We trust the model of Christ to ask with compassion. And we believe in the support of the Spirit to reconcile the world.


Click on the image to read about a case study of fake news by Shelly Palmer or visit: https://www.shellypalmer.com/2018/01/fake-news-case-study/

We learn how to spot fake news at the following sites: https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/10/31/559571970/learning-to-spot-fake-news-start-with-a-gut-check and http://www.readbrightly.com/critical-reading-teaching-kids-discern-real-information-fake-news/ and https://history.howstuffworks.com/history-vs-myth/10-ways-to-spot-fake-news-story.htm

Enter the words false teachers, false leaders or false prophets into the blog search bar for how to discern good fruits from bad.

 

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Ezekiel 12: Ridicule

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fake Dictionary, definition of the word bullying.

In Acts 26 we see that the people of Caesarea listening to Paul think him mad from too much learning!  Today we see that the prophet wars exacted a toll on those who spoke on God’s behalf.  The HARPER COLLINS COMMENTARY tells us that in chaotic times such as those in the days of the exile, prophets often gave “conflicting messages concerning the way people should react and by predicting different courses for future events.  In times of prophetic conflict, people are likely to question prophetic authority, and prophets often respond to this situation by undergirding their own authority in various ways and by undermining the authority of their prophetic rivals”.  We see the conflict in Ezekiel 12 with false visions or deceitful divinations within the house of Israel.  This calls us to think about the false prophesies or divinations we may have witnessed or passed on.  How do we know a false prophet when we see one?

If we have never placed our faith in those who betray our trust, we might thank God. If we have suffered betrayal, we may become more circumspect in our interactions with others, and we may even discover that our actions become too cautious, too prudent. We must guard against giving in to any temptation to strike back, or to submitting to fear or paranoia. We must be willing to move forward in hope, ignoring any ridicule we suffer, doing the work we are meant to do.

Ridicule is a weapon used expertly by mean girls and bullies.  A recent survey gave us an interesting statistic: upwards of 68% of people who dislike their work do not dislike the actual task they have chosen or been given . . . they dislike the work place . . . because of bullying. We may naïvely believe that most people in most work places have equipped themselves with the necessary tools to defend themselves from haranguing and harassment.

In the U.S. this spring and summer we have seen bold examples of rude behavior and name-calling used to overpower others. This meanness is often described later as “a joke gone bad,” sarcasm or frank speech that is meant to counteract political correctness.

We might look for solutions to bullying but no matter the action we decide to take it is always good to remember to communicate our fears to God. If we do not know where to begin, we might find Psalm 42 helpful: Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.  My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life; when can I enter and see the face of my God? . . . Deep is calling on deep, in the roar of the waters: your torrents and all your waves swept over me . . . With cries that pierce me to the heart, my enemies revile me, saying to me all day long “Where is your God?”  Why are you cast down, my soul, why groan within me?  Hope in God: I will praise him still, my savior and my God.

Where is your God?  Hope in God. We will praise God still.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you looking for?  . . .  Go to my brothers and your brothers and tell them, “I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”.  (John 20:15)

Where is your God?  Hope in God. We will praise God still.

When bullies approach, as they surely will, we must hope in God to defend us from ridicule. We must rely on God to show us the way to go. And we must praise God still.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. Print.

Adapted from a reflection written on March 25, 2008.

When we compare varying translations of these verses, we open our eyes and ears to God’s wisdom as God shows us how we might confront the ridicule we meet.

For a parent guide to combat bullying, click on the image above or visit: http://wpri.com/parent-resource-guide/bullying-prevention/ 

For an interesting article on workplace bullying, visit the Society for Human Resource Management at: https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/pages/1014-viewpoint-workplace-bullying.aspx

 

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Zechariah 14: Apocalypse – Part IItrinity knot

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The last chapter of Zechariah’s prophecy makes a momentous revelation or announcement: There will be an end to prophecy.  Perhaps this is because with the coming of the Messianic age there is little need to announce the savior who is already among us. Perhaps it is because prophets have lost their place of status. Perhaps it is because people of all nations, including pagan ones, will now worship the Lord.  In any case, according to Zechariah, the fight will be over.  There will no longer be merchants in the house of the Lord; false shepherds will have disappeared; the tribes of the world will be reconciled; peace will reign.

Past, present and future merge as Zechariah pulls us out of our mourning for what is over and in the past, away from our fears for the future that has yet to come . . . and into the promise of the present where God is. Let us rely on the holy trinity in our lives on this day in this hour at this moment: marvelous God who created us, audacious Christ who saved us, and passionate Spirit who abides within. And let us want and fear nothing.

Enter the word apocalypse into the blog search bar and explore, or follow the pathways in the trinity know image above and consider not only the interlocking relationship of our three-person God, but the end of false shepherds and prophets, the end of lies and deceit. How do we recognize truth in its fullness when it stands before us? How will we return this truth to the world? 

Tomorrow, Zechariah describes an end to prophecy.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.425. Print.   

Adapted from a reflection written on Friday, July 10, 2009.

 

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Zechariah 14: Apocalypse – Part Itrinity-310931_640

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Apocalypse, coming from the Greek for revelation, is an announcement of a truth revealed.  Apocalyptic literature is full of mystery, is usually veiled in symbolic language and is often interpreted by an angel of God (Senior 425).  It deals with the heavenly world, the future, and describes a final judgment in which there are winners and losers.  It is sometimes incomprehensible, frightening and misunderstood.  The Apocalypse we see in today’s reading is the fight for Jerusalem which ushers in an era without storm, turmoil or deceit.  It brings a time of peace, unity and celebration.  It is a day when every libation pot shall be holy to the Lord.

Past, present, future. Let us remember the holy trinity of our lives: all that God has created and gifted, all that is here with us in the Spirit, and all that is promised by Christ in our lives to come. In this way we will know what to do and what to say when apocalypse befalls us, as it surely will. And let us offer all that we have and all that we are to the triune God: courageous creator, compassionate savior and blessed comforter.

Tomorrow, more from Zechariah.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 425. Print.   

Adapted from a reflection written on Friday, July 10, 2009.

For interesting insights into apocalyptic beliefs, their evolution and how they shaped the western world, visit the PBS Frontline page at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/ 

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Luke 6:24-26: Trouble Aheadrough-road-ahead

Good Friday, April 3, 2015

From Luke’s account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain . . .

But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. (New American Standard Bible)

Jesus is quite clear. The content and happy must tend to the poor and broken-hearted. Those who rejoice must shepherd those who mourn. Humility is far more valuable than pride.

But woe to you that are rich: for you have your consolation. Woe to you that are filled: for you shall hunger. Woe to you that now laugh: for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets. (Douay Rheims 1899 American)

Jesus makes no mistake. The full and sated must share food and drink. Those who rejoice must accompany those who mourn. Self-knowledge is far more important than denial.

Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets. But it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made. What you have is all you’ll ever get. And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself. Your self will not satisfy you for long. And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games. There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it. There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular. (The Message)

jesus-on-the-crossJesus calls to each of us, warning of trouble ahead. Trouble that lies not in deprivation and disaster . . . but in our hubris, our narcissism and our corruption. When we spend time reading and comparing various versions of these verses, we receive the gifts of clarity, truth and grace. Reflect on these words, or use the scripture link to choose other versions. On this day when all seems bleak and dark, and the cross dominates our thinking, let us remember that after the cross, resurrection is not far behind. There may be trouble ahead, but we need not fear. Christ is among us . . . now. Christ is in us now . . . and forever.

Tomorrow, the kingdom.

 

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Jeremiah2Jeremiah 28

False Confidence

We grow accustomed to easy words that support a belief we hold dearly; we reject words that bring news we do not want to hear. We live secure in our possessions and good health; we spend too little time thinking of those who have little or even nothing. In our fear of change and upheaval, we place all of our confidence in those who cannot help us when calamity strikes – as it always does. In our worry about how we will manoeuver around or over the obstacles in our lives, we build up false confidence in events and agencies that are fallible and finite. And we turn our backs on the Living God who creates, heals, restores and builds up. Today we hear the story of Hananiah, the false prophet who wrongly predicts a brief two-year period of exile, and who dies in the face of the false confidence he hoped to inspire.

Removing the wooden yoke from Jeremiah’s neck, Hananiah enters into a reality he creates in his mind. Jeremiah went away, verse 11 tells us, but then he returns, unable to keep silent. In verse 17 we hear that Hananiah dies in the seventh month of that year. Jeremiah lives on to continue his call to anyone who will listen.

God says: You do not need others to build you up. Do I not waken you every morning, feed every noontime, and call you to rest each night? Do I not abide with you even when your anger or fear turn you away from me? Do I not continue to accompany you on the many roads you take to escape my gaze? Fear not, I am with you always. Even until the end of the age. I will heal you always, calling you home to me despite all that has gone wrong for you. I will restore you and set you back into your promised place, just as I have always done for Jeremiah and his faithful remnant.

As we struggle to obey Babylon in our place of exile, let us remember these two prophets Hananiah and Jeremiah, one speaking for self and his false leaders, and the other for God alone.

Enter the word confidence into the blog search bar and let us consider what or who inspire us to have confidence. Let us consider where our confidence lies. And let us determine if we might say that our confidence is false or just.

Or . . . return to the earlier blog posts from the beginning of Jeremiah’s prophecy and reflect on how God’s promise might offer hope and might balance the difficult periods in our lives. 

For a reflection on The Duel of the Prophets, click on the image above or go to: http://www.passionistjpic.org/2010/12/duel-of-the-prophets/ 

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Michaelangelo: The Prophet Jeremiah

Michaelangelo: The Prophet Jeremiah

Jeremiah 26:1-15

A Plot to Murder

This confrontation between prophet and priests occurred in the year 609 B.C.E. at a time of tremendous political upheaval; the people in today’s reading were under tremendous political, spiritual, social and personal stress.  Accusations of falsehood, of miss-reading and miss-interpreting the law are symptoms of a people and leaders who no longer trust one another or themselves.  The message here, however, is as clear as the arguments: Judah’s fate has been sealed by her own actions.

When we read these verses we understand why and how such a great people fell into exile.  The wayward priests and false prophets believe that if they silence Jeremiah, they will keep their secrets hidden . . . and they will be safe.  Of course the opposite is actually the case and if those who are no longer faithful might only listen and heed this true prophet’s words they will be saved.  This is not far from what also happened with Christ several hundred years later.  This is also not far from what happens to the prophets among us today.

We live in a world with robots and sustain ourselves with pre-packaged food . . . starving for honest reality and intimacy, looking for genuine nourishment.  We can Photoshop images, dub sounds, pay surgeons to re-arrange our bodies, and pop psychologists to sooth our minds.  We have created a false world for ourselves in which we control and are all.  And, like the priests of Jeremiah’s world, we have things wrong.

Catherine of Siena recounts that God says to her: I am who am, you are she who is notThis is an idea which we must do more than merely believe, we must feel it, act it, live it.  We, like Jeremiah, live in a world which is too clever, too complicated and too overcome by itself.  But the faithful need not lament . . . for there is always refuge, always a remedy.  When false priests and false prophets rage against us, the faithful must turn away from all the trappings, the trinkets, the overblown, the super sizes, the arguments and the words.  We must turn and return to God.

And so we pray . . . Good, gentle, all-encompassing Lord . . .

Remind us that our greatness is in our smallness.

Recount to us the infinite times you have shown us compassion.

Recall for us the immeasurable ways you have measured out justice on our behalf.

Revivify us with your presence.

Hold us away from the false light of the finite. 

Draw us toward the life-giving light of the eternal.

Bring us home to you.  Amen.

Adapted from a reflection written on May 11, 2008.

To learn more about Catherine of Siena, visit: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1368

For more quotes, visit: http://www.drawnbylove.com/Quotes.htm

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

gods-hands-holding-child[1]1 John 4:1-3

Belonging

Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God.

The prophets and the apostles warn us about false spirits and false teachers and their warning is a universal call to be wary of those who come to us in the false disguise of God’s holy ones.  The world is full of those who are adept at deceiving the faithful, and they are often most successful in their deception when we are celebrating.

God says: I do not mean to frighten you; I only encourage you to be cautious when your guard is down.  Know that I am with you always and do not abandon you to the wolves.  But also know how cleverly the false ones costume themselves in sheep’s clothing.  They spend their time and energy looking for ways to gather in my sheep for themselves and yet they never win for I always save my sheep.  So do not fear . . . but be prudent and circumspect . . . and call on me always to save you.

God loves our innocence and trusting spirit.  We can rely on God to preserve us when we falter and to save us when we are beguiled by the false ones. This is why our daily contact with God is so important.  We belong to God and God alone.  Let us rejoice in our belonging.

Enter the word belonging in the blog search bar and examine how, and who, and what, and why you trust.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011 – 1 John 4 – The Spirit of Truth

Casting out fear, recognizing the anti-Christ, remembering that we are God’s little children, loving because we are first loved by God.  John, Peter and Paul all try to convey to the faithful the importance of remembering Jesus’ message that we follow those who live in the Spirit rather than against it.  They warn Christ’s flock about the cleverness of the darkness; they tell us that our journey through a life of narrow gates will be a refining experience that will sharpen our perception so that we better discern real truth from falsehood and deception. 

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of  life that God has promised to those who love him.   (James 1:12) 

Peter, the foundation on which Christ builds his Church on earth, describes the subtle way that darkness will intrude on our thinking, and he reminds us of the surety of the consequences for succumbing to that darkness.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.  In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (2 Peter 2:1-3)

Paul tells the Thessalonians – and us – that we must stay away from even the fringes of evil; its power to deceive it is far too potent for us to combat.  Iniquity often disguises itself as goodness and we may be taken in and taken over before we even recognize that something ugly  has dressed itself up as a radiant goodness.  Paul tells us to . . .

Test everything.Hold on to the good.  Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace,sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.(1 Thessalonians 5:21-24)

Today we spend time with the Beloved Apostle as he too warns us that our faith is a powerful guardian against malevolence.  In his beautiful letters that describe the ineffable experience he has as Christ’s companion, John calls us to a faith in God that will overcome the dark enemy . . . for whatever is born of God conquers the world.  John writes these things to us who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that we may that we have eternal life.  And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the request made of him. 

This is the spirit of truth we are asked to seek and identify.

This is the Spirit of truth we are called to follow. 

This is the Spirit of Truth we are invited to live. 

May we answer this call, this invitation, this voice of God.  And may we follow this voice willingly for it brings us to our only sanctuary against the false teachers who roam the world dressed up in glorious garments that have the appearance of goodness and light . . . but which are in reality woven of the glittering deceit of dishonesty and fraud.

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