1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14
Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Plain to his disciples. But many who opposed him were also present — scribes and Pharisees, themselves teachers. Jesus warned his disciples about the danger of following the wrong teacher.
History is full of wrong teachers who have led others into destruction. Most notorious in recent times are "teachers" like Jim Jones who led almost a thousand people to Guyana where they drank poisoned Kool-Aid. David Koresh led an innocent group of people to a fiery death because they chose to follow his teachings.
Most of us are not so gullible as to follow fanatics like them. Nevertheless, all too many unsuspecting people follow other kinds of false teachers.
After I had finished delivering a morning talk to retreatants, one individual rushed up to me insisting we needed to speak in my office right away. There he told me gently, but firmly, that certain remarks in my talk were unwise and unsound. He opened a well-worn, heavily underlined and highlighted book to quote a popular New Age author and public speaker as his authority.
"Do you read Scripture?" I asked him. "Is your Catholic Catechism as dog-eared as that book?" No, he answered.
But you do believe the Bible is divinely inspired and that the Church is its proper teacher?"
"Then why do you trust and quote someone whose work is neither of those rather than follow Scripture as taught by the Church for 2,000 years?"
He had no answer. I strongly urged him to toss his New Age book and its unwise and, worse, false teachings, and instead to listen to a good teacher – The Church.
Otherwise, that New Age teacher will surely lead him into the ditch.
Deacon Manuel Valencia ([email protected]) is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.