Posts Tagged ‘False Prophets of Today’

Dealing With False Prophets (U)

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Wednesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time

Gen 15:1-12, 17-18; Mt 7: 15-20

Deacon Larry Brockman

I wonder whether we have false prophets in our day?  Jesus says they would come to us in sheep’s clothing, but underneath they would be ravenous wolves.  Prophets. you know, tell us what things will be like in the future.  They are either prophets of doom; or prophets of boon.  Most people like the second kind of prophet, don’t they?   

I don’t know about you, but a whole bunch of things leap out at me about prophets of boon.  How about the advertising industry for starters?  We are constantly bombarded with claims on products by advertisers all telling us how much better our lives would be if only we bought their products.  They are claims that are hard to believe; probably because they are not true, or at best, they are half true.  And underneath, we know that there is just one motive- money, not our welfare.  This includes ads for toothpaste, soda drinks, beer, chips, all kinds of foods and entertainment, and a whole lot more.  They are replete with promises, implied promises.  They use good looking women or guys with the whitest teeth, or having the best time at the party, or any number of other visual traps that sell us.  Everything looks so good on the surface.   

Most of us are not taken in by these kinds of false prophets.  Probably because all of us have bought these false narratives a time or two, and so, we learned from our mistakes.  We can tell what the real fruits of their efforts are.   

But there are other, much more serious false prophets who use the same techniques to sell something as good.  They are not selling products; they are selling visions as a means of gaining power.  I’m talking about politicians; politicians whose hidden agenda differs from what they are selling.  They couch what they say by making it all sound so good.  Free college education for everyone; free health care for everyone; a big increase in the minimum wage; a tax cut for everyone; eliminating stifling government regulations on business and the environment; and safeguarding the second amendment.   

But you have to wonder if they are sheep in wolves clothing.  Are they promising these agendas to gain and maintain power?   Or do they really have our best interests at stake?  Because each one of the 6 things I mentioned comes at a cost, doesn’t it?  And basically, the costs are not addressed by their promises; rather, the emphasis is on all the “good” that is promised.  Some things appear to be good on the surface, but when you look at them closer or over time they end up being very bad.  Unfortunately, consequences like this and real costs are ignored.   

But just like the products pushed by the advertising industry, we can often tell when we’ve been hoodwinked.  Because most of the time, politicians just don’t deliver on their promises.  And if they do, the consequences, come back to bite us.  So, we sometimes know what the fruit of their labors is.  The challenge is to find someone who delivers on their promises and handles the consequences.  We are looking for the truth; not propaganda.  And in our society, that is getting really difficult to find.   

Then there are the prophets of gloom.  They are like barking dogs, warning us about Global warming or complete financial collapse due to the national debt or and of a number of international threats and dangers.  It is harder to sort out the truth from these doomsayers because the issues are so complex.  And besides, it is human nature to want to hide from gloom and doom.  Old Testament Israel constantly ignored true prophets like that   

But you know, there is an oasis in all of this.  There is a place all of us can go to test everything and determine whether the prophets of gloom and the prophets of boon are bearing good fruit or bad fruit.  And that oasis is our relationship with God.  Abram’s story this morning is an example.  If we have a relationship with God; and we ask him sincerely what the right thing is to do; he will guide us; he will answer our prayers; and we can put our trust in him.  He may not explain it all in such a way that we fully understand everything, especially all the consequences.  More than likely, he will just point us in the right direction.  We will get the right feeling, a sort of common sense.   

Do we have false prophets in today’s world?  You bet; they are all around us, especially as we get close to an election year.