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WHAT A RICH INHERITANCE IS OURS!

Father Francis's picture
Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3 & Mt. 7:15-20

Imagine one day when you open your mail and find a letter from a solicitor. A distant relative whom you have never met has died and named you in his will. You have inherited a fortune! After the shock of disbelief you begin to plan what you will do with all the money.

Something like this happened to King Josiah of Judah. The Book of the Law, probably parts of Deuteronomy, had been abandoned and forgotten during the reign of Josiah's predecessor, Manasseh. When the high priest Hilikiah found the book in the temple, he sent it to the king through one of the scribes. Receiving the book was for Josiah very much like receiving a fortune by inheritance. He was overjoyed but he also knew his fortune was to be shared. He summoned all the people to the temple and had the contents of the book read out them.

The title, 'Book of the Law', is somewhat misleading to us. Its contents actually told again in a very profound way of God's saving action which established a covenant with the people. This book made it clear that the covenant was not only for those who lived in the past but for those who were alive at that moment. To this covenant the people were called to be faithful as all their ancestors had been called.

We have become used to the story of Christian salvation and of the new covenant sealed in the blood of Christ. Consider how thrilling it would be to hear this story as adults for the first time. How moving it would be to think of God's love for us in sending His Son and the generous way in which Jesus had died for us. And how He had established for us a loving relationship with the Creator of the Universe as our Father! This wonderful story is our inheritance from the evangelists. Do we treasure and share the good news of our salvation as Josiah did? It should be the motivating force of our whole lives. It should make us become the tree, spoken of by Jesus in the Gospel, which produces fruit of complete dedication to our loving God.

Jesus says, “Beware of false prophets.” There have always been those who do the work of Satan and lead people away from Christ. Who are they today and how are we to recognise them? Jesus says, “You will know them by their fruits, by their deeds.” You will know the true from the false prophets by their fidelity to the teaching of Christ in the Gospels; it is through reading the Gospels in a prayerful manner with the help of the Holy Spirit, and being guided by His Church, that we will discover the truth. We will be able to recognise the permissiveness which clouds the difference between right and wrong, as well as the hair-splitting legalism which holds the letter of the law in the greater respect.

Holy Spirit, help us to pray that You will give us the wisdom to know when we are in danger of following false prophets, who will lead us away from God's truth.

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