Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.” (Mt 7:15-16a)
When I was assigned to work as a chaplain at one of the state prisons, the Assistant Superintendent of Programs told me that the men would most likely not approach me for a while. He told me that it would take many of the men in the facility up to a year to come to me for anything.
The answer was quite simple.
The Assistant Superintendent told me that the prisoners, since they have nothing but time on their hands, always waited a long time whenever any new staff — officer, case worker, chaplain — came on board so that they could see if the actions of the people were consistent with the words that they proclaimed.
Jesus pretty much said the same thing in today’s Gospel. He warned the people against “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. He knew that there were and would be many who would tout pretty words and lead many astray.
“By their fruits, you will know them.”
That is so true.
If someone speaks good but does evil, the words that person speaks are lies and that person is a sham.
If, however, the person speaks good and does good, that person is the one to trust. That person’s example is the one to follow.
We probably know a lot of people who say one thing but do something entirely different.
We are not to be that kind of person.
We are to exemplify, instead, the fruits of the Spirit:
FAITH ACTION: Which fruit of the Spirit is your strong suit? Which do you need most of all? Exemplify the fruits of the Spirit today wherever you find yourself.