Browsing Reflections

Fr. Jo's Reflection for the 12th Sunday of Yr A, June 21, 2020

       You have, probably, felt like Jeremiah those times you saw or heard truth, goodness and right conduct painted as lies, treachery and outrage while evil is glamorized. As society continues to slide into nihilism, the sad fate meted to truth and goodness makes it tougher for our generation to distinguish right from wrong, truth from falsehood, and the benign from the detestable. The level of moral confusion to which society has been thrown forces the few who still believe in anything with the resemblance of truth to either keep silent or turn around to join the train and water down their convictions.

          For example, I’m at loss what happened to the media. In Journalism Schools, people are taught to observe events and report what they observed. Majority in the media have rather turned into blinded partisans, ideologues and devotees of people in power. If your ideology agrees with theirs, they’ll institute a cause for your political and moral canonization; they’ll idolize your family, your wardrobe and your missteps. Should they disagree with you, they turn into witch-haunters with a barrage of negative information about you, your family and even your virtues. Like a script out of this line from Jeremiah: “Denounce! Let us denounce him!” you can feel their thirst for vengeance. They go to bed plotting lies and evil and wake up with the hope that: “Perhaps you will be trapped; then they can prevail.” And this cuts across political divides—right, left or center. The script for religious, moral and political intrigue was not written today; it was written in Eden and made part and parcel of fallen humanity. Jeremiah was its victim. Many righteous kings and rulers experienced it. You’ll experience it as a parent, a teacher or student from today’s agents of hate.

          When Jesus steps into this fray, He brings a message of reassurance and vindication for the cause of goodness and right. He says to His apostles and those who believe in Him: “Do not be afraid.” I read from a certain scripture scholar that that expression appears 365 times in the Bible – I have not attempted to verify that. But it’s an encouragement by the Lord to everyday rid fear from our lives. St. John Paul II whose motto was “Totus Tuus” (Totally Yours) added the expression “Do not be afraid” as his life and missionary dictum. The point John Paul makes and which played out in his own life is that if we resign our lives to God, we need not be afraid of those who’ll attack us. It was with that conviction that he energized Poland to reject and overthrow the evil of Communism. The same conviction led Stanley Rother back to Guatemala to bring Christ to his parishioners of Santiago Atitlan and speak truth to the powers that be. Jesus tells us that the real spiritual danger we face is not losing our mortal life. That we will die is the fated lot of all mortal creatures. The real danger is that the evil one may cause a soul to reject and deny goodness, virtue and truth, and steal one’s eternal inheritance. The devil steals eternal life not to keep it, rather, that he may turn it into eternal death. St. Paul adds that death is an irreversible power but there is another reality far superior, which is the gracious gift of the one man, Jesus Christ. Only when we lose our mortal body in death would we realize how fleeting physical existence, which the world glamorizes is. Sow the wind and you’ll reap the whirlwind. Sow truth and righteousness and you’ll reap the reward of eternal life.


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