I recall a preacher telling his listeners that if all the people do is like you and your messages then you probably are not being true to the Gospel. Truly the Word of God shaper than a two-edged sword, cutting marrow and bone. The true proclaimer of the Word of God will speak the truth with the objective of being true to God’s Word and not whims of those who receive it. Recall the Gospel of Matthew: “’We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’. Mt 11:17
The Challenges of our times do not allow us to simply be quiet in the midst of injustice, division, deception, lies and greed. While others suffer and are left outside in the cold as well as being disconnected from opportunities and whose voices go unheard as the plead for relief, understanding and inclusion we cannot sit idly by. The Gospel is not just some nice story of Jesus wanting niceties to be said so people feel good. On the Contrary we are called to speak the truth and if it rejected so be it, but it must be proclaimed loudly if it is the last word spoken to the human race, a word of truth and the Gospel message must be spoken against such a godless and hurting world.
The prophets of both ancient Israel and even modern prophets today were and are killed in attempts to silence them from speaking the truth of their times. In this week’s first reading we find God’s prophet suffering because he spoke truth to power in calling out the desecration and rejection of God’s Law;
“In those days, the princes said to the king:
“Jeremiah ought to be put to death;
he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city,
and all the people, by speaking such things to them;
he is not interested in the welfare of our people,
but in their ruin.”
The message of the Gospel from Luke reminds us that Jesus’ message yes was one of love, inclusion and the dignity of all persons, but this loving message he knew would also be rejected and there would be those who would prefer their power, money and influence instead of living in a loving way that included all and respected all. As he preached, he desired that hearts would be changed, that people would be open to the new path that God had laid out in sending us His only Son. Listen to Jesus today:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Jesus comes to set the earth a fire in a way that is radically transforming. He stands against the authorities of His day. Much like Jesus so do we today. The hatred and injustice that we see in our society and our world must call us to witness to the Gospel message that what we are seeing is wrong and we must be committed to stand for what is right and good even if it causes others to dislike us an even depart from us. We must be willing to call out what is truly wrong and seek to make it right. As I look around the world, I see men and women willing to take a stand for Right, Goodness and Justice. While at the same time those assiduously standing for lies, untruth, division and hatred and are completely ok with wrongdoing and poor conduct.
One thing is evidently clear, that when truth is spoken it lights up and set ablaze in our world. We live in a nation that is not perfect, and it is only when we name that which is broken can it be fixed. We must recognize the dignity off all. When one life, one group or subgroup is hurting, it hurts us all. When unjust conditions effect one it affects all. We must boldly proclaim that human life matter, The Lives of the unborn matter, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter and we cannot be silent about it. It doesn’t have to be at the exclusion of one over another. When one hurts, we all hurt. When one human life is disregarded and disrespected, we must stand up and speak up and act up for what is right.
We know that the truth of the Gospel is spoken when there are those that reject the truth and become infuriated by the truth. From the stoning and killing of the prophets to elimination and assignation of people like the missionaries of El Salvador and Archbishop Oscar Romero, to Martin Luther King Jr and Malcom X, we see again the rise in attacks on bishop and priests in Nicaragua, those who speak the Gospel truth light our world on fire.
The Gospel impels us to speak truth to lies and yes it will be divisive. Household will be divided, and relationships stretched when some turn their eyes and hearts away from the truth and those who embrace the truth.
“From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
We saw this week how our leaders failed to secure and freeze the cost of housing. The truth is there is greed and those who take advantage of this fail to truly protect the wellbeing of our citizens. We here at St. Joseph will not just complain. We are looking at ways to create our own housing and will be discussing the possibility of affordable housing being built on our own property. This is a way to take our faith and our action and pull it together for the greater good.