3.16.18 Fri. Wk 4 – Lent (II)
Wisdom 2: 1a, 12 – 22
Gospel of John 7: 1 – 2, 10, 25 – 30
†Jesus moved about within Galilee; but he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.
But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but [as it were] in secret.
Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities*have realized that he is the Messiah? But we know where he is from. When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” So †Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come. The Gospel of the Lord.
Homily: Fr. Mike Murphy Living The Truth
The people in the Temple were amazed at the courage of †Jesus. They said: “Is He not the one they are trying to kill? And look, He is speaking openly”. (Jn.7:26) †Jesus was accused of being a blasphemer, He spoke of God as His Father, making Himself equal to God. †Jesus was accused of being in league with Beelzebub, casting out demons in Satan’s name. Ultimately, †Jesus would be a threat to the status of the religious authorities, and they would send Him to crucifixion because as Caiaphas, famously said: “It is better for one man to die, than a whole people”. (Jn.11:50) Despite all the gossip, despite all the threats and the rejection, †Jesus remained faithful to the Truth, to His Mission and to His Father.
How courageous are we – when it comes to living our faith? In the passage from the Book of Wisdom, we hear how some people think – gossip had turned to a destructive bantering. Mistruths, false accusations and jealousy had led these people to evil thoughts of the murder. Someone willing to speak the truth to the people would face torture and death.
In some parts of the world Christians continue to be tortured and martyred for the faith. Here in the United States we’re very blessed, because we are able to speak freely of our faith. Yes, there maybe some consequences in this growing secular culture, but they don’t involve death. Sadly, though, many Christians hide their faith in the public arena. They fear ridicule or rejection by some people. They fear being the subject of gossip, they fear being the butt of jokes, and they fear rejection on social media, because they are insecure in their faith in God. Standing up for one’s faith and moral principles might cost them; might cost us economic security, it might even cost the faithful politician – an election. But too often, people who could make a difference in the world choose not to stand up for the truth, choosing instead, to go along with the crowd, to go along with the secular culture.
I see this in the Sacrament of Reconciliation – when someone confesses the sin of gossip. They are in a group of people, and they just get caught up in the gossip. That happens to us; all of us all have done that. But at some point we must step back and have the courage either to change the subject, to fraternally correct our friends, or just walk away.
The crowd around †Jesus thought they knew where He was from, but they didn’t have a clue. †Jesus knew where he was from. He was not at all insecure. He was the ‘begotten of the Father’, the merciful and loving Father.
Do we know where we are from – our roots? If we believe that we are God’s greatest creation, all of us here; if we believe that we are children of a loving and merciful God, and brother and sisters in †Jesus, then we will proudly live the truth. Politicians and the spiritually insecure will always be indifferent to the truth of †Jesus, because it might cost them something and they can lack the courage of the truth. As Christians we cannot be indifferent to †Jesus.
We read in Paul’s 2nd Letter to the Corinthians: “Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation”. (2 Cor.6:2) Now is the day to stand up for – and to live the truth. Eventually, all of us will stand before †Jesus. And when we stand before †Jesus, He will either be – judge or Savior, but that will be up to us – how we lived the truth in our lives. We cannot be indifferent to †Jesus. We are either for Him or against Him, there is no middle ground. †Jesus made that very clear.
St. Augustine once wrote: “Our pilgrimage on earth is school in which God is the only teacher and it demands good students, not students that play truant.” (excerpt from Sermon 218c.1)
By Baptism, we are enrolled in the school of Holiness, and we must strive to live the way, the truth, and life of †Jesus – now. And God is merciful toward those who genuinely try, (we all make mistakes – we’ve all been “B” and “C” students, and some of us have even failed a few times) but the truth is this: He will always love us and the Lord is always merciful” – and each day we begin anew.
Let us never forget where we are from and to whom we belong.
Let us never be afraid to live the courage of the truth.
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.