St. Paul finishes up his farewell speech to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus in today’s first reading from Acts 20. After he is done, there were many tears, for they knew that they would never see him again. In the Gospel reading from John 17, Jesus asks the father to “consecrate them (the Apostles) in the truth.”
I’m sure you’ve heard the old expression, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This saying is very true when it comes to the Church. I say this in light of Paul’s words that we read in today’s first reading. Listen to what he tells the presbyters in Ephesus. “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them.” Sound familiar? It should. Because it is happening in a big way today. But it isn’t just today.
This has been the case with the Church since the beginning. There have been rogues and charlatans throughout the ages, both inside and outside the Church. And, unfortunately, many have followed them. It seems they always come with a message that is pleasing to the ears. In reality, as St. Paul said, it perverts the truth. You know the really interesting thing, though? The Church has yet to fall. Maybe that’s because Jesus promised that She never would. So we got that going for us…which is nice.
Father, help us to always discern the wolves who come perverting the truth. Give us the grace to hold fast, consecrated to the truth. Amen.