The job of the Christian is to overcome evil with good. In 2011 recognizing evil has become much more difficult. The evil of untruth is routinely propogated aned camafloged within a language context which may contain some truth, but is designed to avoid the real truth in the hopes of escaping being recognized as an outright lie. Tell an untruth enough times and the untruth may be accepted by some as the truth. We Christians are called to reshape culture with the truth rather than submit to culture.
In the gospel we hear Mathhew tells us Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Were you paying attention? Let’s see! How did Jesus tell them?
One day, while I reading a book, my 3 year old grand daughter told me she had learned the Lord’s prayer. She asked, do you want to hear it? I said sure, as I continued to read. My grand daughter asked again, do you want to listen to me Paw Paw? Sure I said, go ahead I am listening! No Paw Paw, I want you to listen to me with your eyes.
Jesus was teachiung his disciples to listen with more than their eyes so they could learn to discern the truth – listening with one eyes is the secret to discerning the truth hiiden within behavior – does behavior match the spoken word. Jesus was teaching his discples to use the whole essence of their being, spirit, mind, physical eyes and ears and yes yes yes their spiritual eyes and ears!
It is very very difficult not to conform to the wonder and image of this age! The techonological advances in our world has lead people to work overtime creating pleasing language and visual images designed to support an agenda rather than address truth. Should we look closely at behavior, we often discover ones behavior does not support the images and the words spoken. The truth is always the truth. A lie surrounded with pleasing words we want to hear is still always is a lie.
One who seeks and speaks the truth will encounter what Jesus encountered in His day! We cannot separate Jesus from the Cross. The way Jesus taught was through the example he set for his disciples! Jesus knew he must walk the walk for the lessons to be heard with the physical and spiritual eye to be fully understood. When one lives the truth one may expect to suffer.
The Catholic Cathechism teaches in the process of conversion; one must recognize the Lord exists, one must suffer and then become converted. We don’t get to skip the suffering. Modern day Americans seem to have lost the wisdom of Jesus teaching for so many will sell their soul to escape suffering. Listen – Learn & suffer!
(The following is sung)
Oh Lord – set me on your knee. Oh Lord won’t you set me on your knee.
Though I scared, tired and worn, it’s on your knee that I’m reborn.
Oh Lord set me on your knee.
On your knee is where the stories are told, that give me courage and make me bold. Oh Lord won’t you set me on your knee.
From your knee I can clearly see you are the only source of truth that sets me free. Oh Lord set me on your knee.
To be discouraged and yet find beauty in the fire of the spirit buried within suffering, trial and discouragement, paints the picture of one who accepts a prophetic call. The Lord calls each of us by name to transform the world. His call causes us to search our hearts to the bone for the truth.
Are we content where we stand? Are we who we want to be? Are we communicating the truth in how we act and speak?
In the reading from Jeremiah, we hear the prophet Jeremiah loudly lamenting his situation in life. Jeremiah was in the midst of an internal crises. We hear him complaining bitterly about being duped by the Lord. All of his prophetic skills and talents at this point had been used only to root out and tear down. Jeremiah had become a prophet of doom. Can’t you hear Jeremiah asking the lord, “When Lord, do I get to play the part of the good guy prophet?” Perhaps Jeremiah was a little incredulous himself. When do I get to rejoice in the pride of my prophetic calling? When do I get to be recognized and accepted as the good guy by the people around me?
This pericope from Jeremiah is a passionate soliloquy. It’s as if Jeremiah is being goaded by the despair of his day. Though Jeremiah is lamenting, he admits that God’s word is like a consuming fire rising in his bones. This disclosure speaks to us about the nature of inspiration that merges from within the discouragement and hardship of the prophetic calling. And the actions of Jeremiah shout to a suffering world the spirit of Hope revealed in the words of truth flowing from the heart of the speaker amplified by by actions mirroring the word spoken!
One does not need a prompter to sing a message of hope that spring from it’s home in the heart of truth.