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BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS

Read­ing Time: 13 minutes

Conclusion

Do not be deceived, …Do not follow them

As a response to the people’s enquiry about the time and the accom­pa­ny­ing signs con­cern­ing his proph­ecy, Jesus gave two sets of warn­ings to the people. First, he warns them not to allow them­selves be deceived by those who will come in his name telling them “I am he” and/or “the time is near.” The second warn­ing is that when they hear those words, they should mark those people and should not fol­low them because they are false proph­ets. They are scammers.

As already indic­ated, the expres­sions nation will rise against nation, earth­quake, fam­ine, wars and plagues in Luke 21:10–11 refer to nat­ur­al and arti­fi­cial dis­asters. That is, they are Jesus’ warn­ings against the calam­it­ies caused by nature and by anthro­pos – human­ity. Fur­ther­more, Jesus also men­tions per­se­cu­tions by vari­ous sec­tors of the soci­ety, the gov­ern­ment (cf. Luke 21:12–15), and the fam­ily (cf. Luke 21:16–17). Today, Jesus would have added per­se­cu­tions from the Churches and the vari­ous reli­gions. To these dangers, Jesus offers words of encour­age­ment to the vic­tims (cf. Luke 21:13–15.18–19). These unfriendly situ­ations should be seen by the dis­ciples as oppor­tun­ity to bear wit­ness to the Gospel.

Be perseverant!

In Luke 21:19, Jesus assures the dis­ciples that “by their per­sever­ance, they will secure their lives.” As indic­ated above, the Greek term hypomonē has vari­ous applic­a­tions depend­ing on the con­text. As unwaver­ing faith­ful­ness to a course of action in spite of con­crete dif­fi­culties, it means per­sever­ance, endur­ance, forti­tude. If in the midst of per­se­cu­tions, false accus­a­tions, unjust tri­als, tor­tures, impris­on­ment and betray­als, the dis­ciples remain faith­ful to the Gos­pel, then, they would have safe­guarded their lives. Since they are ready to lose their lives for the Good News, they will save it (cf. Luke 9:24). It is in this con­text that Paul exclaims “…we glory in our suf­fer­ings, because we know that tribu­la­tion pro­duces per­sever­ance; per­sever­ance pro­duces mature char­ac­ter; and mature char­ac­ter pro­duces hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spir­it, who has been giv­en to us” (Rom 5:3–5). So long as you per­severe, Jesus assures you that “not a hair of your head will per­ish” (Luke 21:18). This is a meta­phor­ic­al say­ing mean­ing no true believ­er will suf­fer spir­itu­al loss or death (cf. also Mal 3:20). And a true believ­er is one who prac­tices justice, who lives blame­lessly, who acts uprightly, who speaks the truth from his or her heart, who keeps the tongue under con­trol, who does not dis­cred­it oth­ers, who des­pises evil and who hon­ours God (cf. Ps 1514). As for those crim­in­als, God will take care of them (cf. First Reading).

Suc­cess and fail­ure are two parts of the same coin. Rain and sun are nat­ur­al com­pon­ents of the nat­ur­al order. Prob­lems and chal­lenges are parts of human life. There­fore, if you con­front yours the right way and with the right atti­tude, you will cer­tainly emerge vic­tori­ous. Do not be a vic­tim to the false proph­ets and the ungodly people who steal and deceive in and with the name of God. Do not hand your­self over to the evil men and women who parade them­selves as heal­ers and God’s rep­res­ent­at­ives. Beware of them. stay away from them. Do not believe their lies. How­ever, you have your free­dom. If you prefer to fol­low them, then, be pre­pared also to face the con­sequence. As Jesus warned, do not listen to them, do not fol­low them for they are fraud­sters. Be con­ten­ted with whatever you have. Remem­ber, as you make your bed, so you lie on it. Learn to per­severe. Be on the watch always! Be wise! Have a nice week. Sha­lom!

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