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In the Gospel of Matthew we read: ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them from their fruits.’ (Matt 7:15-16).

Jeremiah prophesied: ‘Lost sheep, such were my people; their shepherds led them astray’. (Jeremiah 50:6). In John’s Gospel, Jesus says, ‘The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons his sheep as soon as he sees a wolf coming.’ (John 10:12).

We live in a world full of empty promises; you only have to watch commercials on television or on the internet which promise a germ free kitchen or miracle slimming aids – all of which require no effort. They don’t work!

The same goes in the spiritual life where false prophets will tell you that no-one goes to hell, Jesus came to save each and every one of us, and all we have to do is lead a good life.

This is a lie!

The saints and visionaries have been given glimpses of hell by the Blessed Virgin Mary, just read St Faustina or St Catherine of Sienna, not only did they see the fires of hell but they saw souls suffering in eternal torment.

We cannot earn a place in heaven it is freely given to us and whilst it is true that God wants all his people to join Him there for eternity, there is no automatic right of entry. We have to earnestly desire holiness and work hard at it by praying, fasting, receiving the sacraments, reading scriptures and undertaking works of mercy and sharing the Gospel with others.

There is no room for complacency or just sitting back. The road to perdition is wide and full of earthly pleasures. ‘Enter by the narrow gate … it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’ (Matthew 7:13-14). The only way to Heaven is to follow the Good Shepherd. Who is that?

Jesus said, ‘I am the Good Shepherd; I know my own and my own know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.’ (John 10:14-15).

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