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The Word, The Truth

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Homily for Tuesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time, 23 August 2022, Mt 23:22-26

Today’s readings remind me of an interesting plant called a “Venus Fly Trap.” This plant has leaves that fold in two parts and are surrounded by spikes. The leaves are green outside and pinkish inside. The inner part of the leaves emits a certain substance that is attractive to flies in search for food. But when a fly lands on that inner part, the leaf suddenly folds in and the poor fly gets stuck inside and becomes food for the plant.

They look like regular plants but they’re actually very dangerous to insects. I remember our teacher in Biology calling them “carnivorous plants”. They pretend to be offering to feed the insects; but they actually attract the insects precisely to feed on them.

In our first reading, St. Paul is warning the Thessalonian community about agents of disinformation. He tells them “not to be shaken out of their minds or alarmed by a ‘spirit’ or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from him to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.”

Apparently, there were false disciples that were circulating fake letters allegedly written by Paul. These were actually scammers who imitated Paul’s style of writing and teaching, but with the intention of swindling some gullible Christians. The fake letters contained teachings that suggested that the end of the world was coming very soon. And since the Lord’s second coming was supposedly about to take place anyway, what was the point in holding on to material goods? And so these swindlers instructed people to surrender their properties to them, presumably as a sure guarantee for the salvation of their souls.

In the Gospel, Jesus is denouncing the scribes and Pharisees for doing basically the same thing. He calls them “blind guides” who engage in pious external practices but are in fact “full of plunder and self-indulgence”. Meaning, their outward pietism is a mere cover-up for their corrupt motives. And gullible people who think they can buy their way to heaven are like flies that are attracted by a Venus fly trap, supposing that it is a source of food, only to find themselves trapped inside to serve as food for these predatory plants.

You see, there is really nothing new about the prevalence of disinformation in the modern-day social media; only the technology is new. But the use of deceptive means to victimize the undiscerning is actually as old as Adam and Eve.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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