HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE TWELFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (MEMORIAL OF ST. IRENAEUS, BISHOP, DOCTOR, MARTYR)

ST. IRENAEUS: DISCERNMENT AND BEARING GOOD FRUITS

First Reading: Genesis 15:1-12,17-18
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 104(105):1-4,6-9
Gospel Reading: Matthew 7:15-20
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In the intricate weave of life, we are faced with countless choices and encounters that shape our journey. At times, the path ahead appears veiled, shrouded in ambiguity and uncertainty. In such moments, the need for discernment becomes paramount—an inner compass guiding us toward truth, goodness, and authenticity. Discernment is the art of perceiving beyond surface appearances, peering into the depths of situations, ideas, and even people, to distinguish the fruits they bear. On this day, therefore, we are called to reflect on the theme of discernment and bearing good fruit as reflected in the life of St. Irenaeus, whose memorial we celebrate.

In the Gospel Reading (Matthew 7:15-20), Jesus imparts profound wisdom as He warns His disciples about false prophets who masquerade as sheep but harbor ulterior motives. He urges them to discern the true nature of these individuals by examining the fruits of their words and actions. This call to discernment resonates across time, reminding us of the importance of seeing beyond outward appearances and seeking the genuine essence of those we encounter.

Likewise, St. Irenaeus, an early Christian theologian and bishop, exemplified this call to discernment in his work. Living in the 2nd century, he encountered various philosophical and religious movements that threatened the authenticity and integrity of the Christian faith. With profound insight and discernment, St. Irenaeus combated these distortions, emphasizing the importance of staying true to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles. He recognized that discernment involved not only distinguishing true teachings from false ones but also nurturing a deep spiritual connection with God, allowing His divine wisdom to guide the path forward.

In the tapestry of our own lives, the call to discernment is ever-present. It beckons us to examine the fruits that emanate from our own thoughts, words, and actions. Are we planting seeds of love, compassion, and integrity, or do we unwittingly sow seeds of discord, deceit, and selfishness? By cultivating discernment, we become co-creators of our own realities, shaping a world that bears the sweet fruits of righteousness, authenticity, and grace. The writings of St. Irenaeus offer invaluable insights into the importance of discernment in the face of challenges and conflicting ideologies. His emphasis on staying grounded in the teachings of Christ, seeking wisdom from Scripture, and nurturing a vibrant relationship with God serves as a guiding light for our own journey of discernment.

However, discernment is not a solitary endeavor. It is intertwined with the interconnectedness of our lives, for we are part of a larger tapestry that includes the thoughts, choices, and actions of others. Just as we are called to discern the fruits of those we encounter, we must also be aware of the fruits we inspire in others. Do our lives bear the fruits of kindness, empathy, and justice, inviting others to do the same? Through our interactions, we can plant seeds of transformation, nurturing environments where love, understanding, and unity can flourish.

Dear friends in Christ, the journey of discernment is not without its challenges. It requires us to look beyond the superficial allurements that captivate our senses and pierce the veil of illusion. It demands that we confront our own biases, preconceptions, and ego-driven desires. To bear good fruit, we must be willing to engage in deep self-reflection, unearthing the seeds of negativity that reside within us, and replacing them with seeds of compassion, forgiveness, and wisdom. As we navigate the intricate landscapes of life, let us embrace the gift of discernment. May we cultivate the ability to see beyond appearances, seeking the truth that lies at the core of every situation, every encounter. Let us strive to bear good fruit, not only for our own transformation but also as an offering to the world—a testament to the transformative power of discernment, love, and authentic living. In doing so, we become catalysts for positive change, nourishing a world that blossoms with the fruits of grace, harmony, and the boundless possibilities of the human spirit. Like St. Irenaeus, may our discernment be a beacon of light amidst confusion, guiding us ever closer to the truth and radiating the love of Christ to all we encounter.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE NEXT DAY’S REFLECTION: REFLECTION/HOMILY FOR SOLEMNITY OF SAINTS PETER & PAUL)

Shalom!
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo.
nozickcjoe@gmail.com / fadacjay@gmail.com
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PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?

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Chinaka Justin Mbaeri

A staunch Roman Catholic and an Apologist of the Christian faith. More about him here.

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Phyllis Joseph Nweke
Phyllis Joseph Nweke
11 months ago

“May we cultivate the ability to see beyond appearances, seeking the truth that lies at the core of every situation, every encounter. Let us strive to bear good fruit, not only for our own transformation but also as an offering to the world—a testament to the transformative power of discernment, love, and authentic living. In doing so, we become catalysts for positive change, nourishing a world that blossoms with the fruits of grace, harmony, and the boundless possibilities of the human spirit. Like St. Irenaeus, may our discernment be a beacon of light amidst confusion, guiding us ever closer to… Read more »

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