“Coming to his own country he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?’” (Matthew 13:54)
While Jesus faces rejection from his own countrymen in today’s Gospel passage, Jeremiah is almost lynched by the priests, prophets and people in our first reading. Dear friends, when we are hit by the truth, it is either we look inwards and fight our sinfulness (repent from sin) or we try fight the person who is telling us the truth.
Most often, it is the latter we choose. We find it more convenient to fight the mouth telling us the truth than to fight our love for sin. We tend to challenge the authority of those whose tell us the truth, we question their origin, we look down on them, we argue against them and discredit them at all costs. This is the reason Jeremiah and Jesus are rejected.
In the case of Jeremiah, the priests, prophets and people told him directly: “You shall die…” These people had become so hardened in their hearts that they could no longer see anything wrong in their evil ways. For Jesus, his countrymen could not fathom the fact that “a mere son of a carpenter” could suddenly become so wise and so powerful. They had a choice to make; either to accept Jesus as God or to treat Him as an imposter.
Truth, like medicine, is always bitter but in the end, it brings healing. Do not try to fight the truth. Accept it with all its bitterness and it will set you free. We may succeed in shutting down our prophets (removing their posts from social media, blackmailing them etc.) but we cannot shut down truth.
Today we remember St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus also known as the Jesuits. Ignatius was on his way to military fame and fortune when a cannonball shattered his leg. Because there were no books of romance on hand during his convalescence (healing process in the hospital), he whiled away the time reading the life of Christ and lives of the saints. His conscience was deeply touched, and a long, painful turning to Christ began.
Ignatius was a true mystic. He centred his spiritual life on the essential foundations of Christianity—the Trinity, Christ, the Eucharist. His spirituality is expressed in the Jesuit motto, ad majorem Dei gloriam—“for the greater glory of God.” He is the Patron of Retreats.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom to recognise the truth and apply it in my life and the grace of humility to accept corrections. Amen.
Bible Study: Jeremiah 26:1-9, Psalm 69:5-14, Matthew 13:54-58).