At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. Matthew 24.23
A Word of Hope
Have you ever seriously thought about how much time and energy we give to discerning what around us is real and what is fake? To take this line of thinking a little further, have we given our precious time and energy over to trying to convince ourselves that what we feel might be fake is actually real; or, that what we think is real might actually be fake? The phrase “fake news” is a household phrase these days. Fake news, however, is not new to the twenty first century. Jesus, the above passage from the Gospel of Matthew was warning people to be on the lookout for fake news.
We live in a world where it often feels like the overarching guiding principle is to obscure reality. Beauty products exist to help us look younger. Fake IDs are available to make us appear older. Spans make us look smaller. Carefully placed padding makes us look bigger in desirable places. We can have any color hair and eyes that we choose. We have vegetables made to look (and taste?) like meat, and rice made from cauliflower. How do we know what is what we think it is and what is fake?
A more important question may be, how do we know WHO is who we think they are and WHO is fake? Who is what they profess to be? Who can we trust? We like in a time where it is so easy to obscure reality, to hide behind an image that is created from the imagination rather than through living a genuine and authentic life. Why are we so afraid of realness? Granted, it is not always pretty or comfortable, but at least when we must struggle against an “ugly truth” we know with what we are battling.
How will we know the real Jesus when He comes again? He may be dressed in rags or riches, taller, shorter, fatter, or skinnier, than what we expect. He may not look our mind’s imagined Jesus. Will we miss an encounter with the Holy One while we are attempting to determine if what we see is real or fake? How might our lives be different if we could take everyone at face value? How different would the world be if we treated everyone that we met as if they are the Messiah? Are we not called to seek, serve and love the Christ in all people?
I pray today that I may live the authentic life that God intended for me, that I may use my words to say what I mean and mean what I say, and that I may claim to be nothing more and nothing less than the real child of God that I am. Amen
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare