Sunday, February 3, 2013

“Truth suffers, but never dies”

“Let us not forget: we are a pilgrim church, subject to misunderstanding, to persecution, but a church that walks serene, because it bears the force of love.”  - Archbishop Oscar Romero

(Gospel text: LK 1:1-4; 4:14-21)
Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events
that have been fulfilled among us,
just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning
and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
I too have decided,
after investigating everything accurately anew,
to write it down in an orderly sequence for you,
most excellent Theophilus,
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings
you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Why is there such a violent response to Jesus' teaching? 

It is probably difficult for us to understand why there was such an angry reaction to Jesus' teaching.  However, we can consider situations in our own modern times when the truth is spoken to ears that are deafened by pride

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). Conflict has always been a part of his existence, and as a disciple, you should not think that your life would be any different.  Simeon said that Jesus would be a sign of contradiction and that the hearts of many would be revealed (LK 2:34).

Conflict is a normal part of discipleship, and the conflict can become so dramatic that many heroic witnesses have mingled their blood with the blood of Jesus which was poured out for the remission of sin.

We must never be afraid to stand alone for Jesus. 

If we do what is right, God will always be with us and give us the strength that we need to defend the truth. 

There will always be the temptation to react angrily when contention comes our way.  However, we must always act with charity.  In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus commanded that Peter put away his sword (LK 2:36).  The Lord forgave his executioners as he hung dying on the cross. This mindset to react with love as opposed to anger when faced with fierce confrontation can only come from God’s grace (LK 23:34).

Now, more than ever, the Church needs people to stand up in the “public square” and defend the truth of the Gospel through words and deeds.

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