Our Blessed Lord goes on to say that “you will know them by their fruits.” What does this mean? Does it mean that you will know whether prophets are true by how they live and act? Perhaps. But chiefly it means that you will know them by the Christians they produce; those who defend them as true and honorable teachers of the Faith when, in fact, they usurp what the Church has always confessed.True prophets, priests, pastors and bishops nurture you in the true faith. They speak from the Spirit of God. They activate in you a lively faith and godliness. Theses are their good fruits—together with their bold confession of the faith and their willingness to suffer all, even death, rather than depart from the Church’s Faith. If these are the fruits, then these pastors and preachers are good trees in communion with and united to the Tree of Life.
So Our Lord warns you. But do not let this warning trouble you. For Our Lord does not say, “Beware” to frighten or scare you, but to comfort and strengthen you. For when you know that there are false preachers and evil prophets; when you know that there are pastors who speak of their own dreams rather than of the Lord’s heavenly vision; and when you know that there are preachers whom Our Lord never sent—then you are more intent to search diligently for the true bishops, the godly priests, the faithful pastors who will shield you and soothe you with the Lord’s undying mercy.An excerpt from a sermon preached in 2004 on Mt 7.15-21.