Daily Reflections

Beware

August 18, 2019

August 18, 2019 Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 38:4-6,8-10
Psalm 40:2, 3, 4, 18
Luke 12:49-53

Beware of today’s Scriptures – you may not want to hear their message. Do you think that I
have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. Like the
prophets before him, Jesus was rejected by many of the religious leaders and people.
Jeremiah spoke only what God gave him to speak. The powerful, including the prophets,
strove to silence him. Jesus said, I say only what the Father taught me but was still tortured
and killed …and then He was raised from the dead! This cycle has been oft repeated in the
Scriptures and the church. A century ago the Cardinal Archbishop of New York actively tried
to silence Dorothy Day. Today the Cardinal Archbishop of New York is seeking her
canonization.
Today many challenge what they perceive as oppressive attitudes and practices in our
Church. Many of these are people of deep faith, regular, life-giving prayer, and heroic self-
control, who spend themselves acting out of a God given conviction that God does not
support oppressive decisions based on fear, insecurity, and prejudice couched as knowledge
by persons of influence - who consider themselves to be people of deep faith, regular, life-
giving prayer, heroic self-control, who spend themselves acting out of a God given conviction.
Today’s true prophets respond to our second reading: let us rid ourselves of every burden
and sin that clings to us…while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of
faith.
Jesus knew humanity. That is why he came! He knew we would mess up his Kingdom but
spent himself for us anyway. He is not pleased with the oppressive way some in leadership in
His Body treat others whom they judge - although they have no intimate knowledge of the
reality of their lives. Nor is he pleased with those others who demean and dishonor those in
leadership because of the faults of some.
God will eventually draw the true prophet[s]… out of the mud of the swamp. But woe to us if
we discover that the others were the prophets - and not we-who-have-always-known-that-we-
were-right!

Fr. John M. Lee, C.P., is Retreat Director of Bishop Molloy Retreat House, “The Passionist Spiritual
Center in New York City”, www.bishopmolloy.org