Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Little Something Extra...Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Trials of Truth

Today's reading remind us that standing up for the truth can get us into trouble, but God calls us to do it anyway. 

Jeremiah is a prime example. In the two verses before our reading starts, Jeremiah speaks God's message to the people: 

Thus says the LORD: “Those who remain in this city shall die by means of the sword, starvation, and disease; but those who go out to the Chaldeans shall live. Their lives shall be spared them as spoils of war that they may live.” Thus says the LORD: “This city shall certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon; he shall capture it.”

This wasn't something the people wanted to hear, and the princes and King Zedekiah definitely didn't want Jeremiah running around spreading messages like that. They would end up with a riot on their hands! So they silenced him. With the king's permission, the princes threw Jeremiah into a muddy cistern and left him there to starve. 

But God was looking out for Jeremiah, who was fearless about speaking His truth. Ebed-Melech, a court official, appealed to the King for the prophet's life. Always a fickle monarch, Zedekiah gave Ebed-Melech permission to rescue Jeremiah, which he did immediately, but not before Jeremiah had suffered greatly for speaking the truth.

In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that Jesus Himself suffered the trials of truth: He endured the cross, despising its shame, and Consider how He endured such opposition from sinners... We, too, shall struggle against opposition, the writer says, but we must not lose heart. Jesus has gone before us. He has given us a path to follow and a goal to seek. In every difficulty, we must fix our eyes upon Jesus, remembering the joy we find in Him, even if we have to resist evil to the point of shedding our blood.

Jesus Himself tells us in today's Gospel that His truth will not bring peace in this world. Listen again to His words:

Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

The truth often brings conflict, especially when those closest to us do not accept it and ridicule us for our faith. We must be prepared for the trials of truth and hold fast to God, Who calls us to speak the truth always and trust Him to take care of the rest.

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