Gn 15:1-12,17,18; Ps 105:1-9; Mt 7:15-20
God is faithful. We are not faithful. Yet, because we are made in His image and likeness, we long to be faithful. Indeed, this longing is our deepest desire. In the gift of a longing heart is heard our most sincere prayer. Every psalm teaches us about prayer. One of the lessons available in this psalm is that we can sing God’s praise because of his wondrous deeds. His faithfulness and love always surpass what we could ask or imagine. Even our father in faith, Abram, has a difficult time trying to figure out how God will give land to descendants he cannot father with Sarai. Still, the LORD speaks to Abram, “fear not, Abram!” The Lord Jesus commands his disciples to beware of false prophets. Yet, he will not let them live in fear. They are to be cautious, but they are not to be fearful of false prophets, “so by their fruits you will know them.” Such is our prayer in every Mass and throughout each day, “deliver us from evil.” Such is the response of Christ to our prayer this Mass, you will be delivered because you taste and see that the Lord is good.
The LORD God Almighty, who has already appeared and spoken to his chosen one, Abram, is not impatient. In response to the LORD’s command to fear not, Abram considers the possibility that the promise will be fulfilled through his servant, Eliezer. This is a reasonable expectation after years of fruitless union with his wife. Perhaps the Lord God wants to raise his steward to the dignity of a descendant. At this the Lord God takes Abram outside and commands him to try and count the number of stars in the night sky, for such will be the number of your descendants. Finally, the man of faith grows in faith and puts complete trust in the Lord who created heaven and earth. This act of living with the mystery of God, this act of obedient love, is credited to Abram as righteousness. Even though he believes, Abram still does not understand, and so he asks, “how am I to know that I shall possess it?” In response Abram is commanded to prepare another evening sacrifice. When all the gifts are presented and Abram drives off the birds of prey from his sacrifice, then he is enveloped in a terrifying darkness. At this moment of deep prayer and frightening encounter Abram hears the words of a divine covenant. These words are not new, but Abram’s response is new. Finally, he hears and trusts the Lord’s promise: “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River the Euphrates.” Finally, Abram is ready to father many nations.
The voice of the Lord Jesus is full of power. He teaches his disciples that false prophets will come dressed in sheep’s clothing but underneath they are ravenous wolves. The sheep of his flock in every age will be subject to the danger of the enemy. Yet, the Good Shepherd teaches his flock to discern between false and true prophets. Pay attention to the fruits they bear rather than the words they speak. By his teaching the Lord Jesus enables us to evaluate the teaching we hear. It is the fruits of the Holy Spirit that reveal the truth of those who teach. Peace, love, joy, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the only sure signs of the presence and power of the Lord. Nourished here at the Eucharist we grow in faith and bear fruit so that all we meet can taste and see the goodness of the Lord.