AD MAIOREM DEI GLORIAM – TO THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD!
The following is a reflection on the Gospel readings of this week, culminating in Friday’s Gospel (Luke 12:1-7).
Telling the truth can be tragically beautiful. Standing up for what you believe in can be tragically beautiful. One of the most tragically beautiful places I have visited is Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Up above the town, above the gently trickling Miljacka river, above the ancient-Ottoman market square, stands Kovaci Cemetery,
filled with marble toothpicks; innumerable white hairs on the head of this hill and one of many hills that surround this tragically beautiful city.
Among the thousands of graves there is a dome, marking the grave of Aliya Izetbegovic: lawyer, author, philosopher and finally the first president of an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina. In a nearby museum dedicated to the man, there is a quote from Izetbegovic that complements the Gospels we have heard this week: “Sweet lies do not help, while bitter truths can have a healing power”.
Throughout this week’s Gospel readings we have been a fly on the wall as an outspoken Jesus has tackled the society he lived in and the hypocrisy of its leaders. On Monday morning we heard Christ announce to the crowds that “this is a wicked generation”. In the other three Gospels of the week He cut through the pretense of the Pharisees with brutal honesty. Rather than serve up a sweet lie, he accompanied the meal he was invited to with the bitter truth. Unfortunately the Pharisees didn’t taste it’s healing power and began the plotting and scheming that would eventually lead to Jesus’ crucifixion, death and resurrection. Telling the truth can be tragically beautiful.
And so in today’s Gospel we follow Jesus as he leaves this menacing situation and fearlessly speaks out publicly against the Pharisees he has just privately condemned. He challenges his disciples to maintain their integrity and truthfulness, declaring: “Everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear… Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places will be proclaimed on the housetops.” In front of the crowds he reassures them: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more”. In doing this Jesus is preparing his disciples, and us today, for the dangers and difficulties they will face ahead in living a Christian life. Through his honest and courageous example seen in this week’s Gospels he equips us with the most powerful weapon against the power of sin and death: the truth.
Truth enables justice. Truth is like a light that cuts through the clouded confusion of sin and shines through to heaven. Truth is the two hands that unravel our knotted heartstrings. Truth renders sin powerless. If you tell someone the truth and you are loved, then you are loved. If you tell someone the truth and you are hated, then you are humbled. Telling the truth can be tragically beautiful. To end by quoting Cardinal Basil Hume: “Religion is about truth, truth about God, truth about ourselves. It is the truth that makes us free”.
Reflection by Christopher Brolly, nSJ
LAUS DEO SEMPER – PRAISE GOD ALWAYS!