Homily (Reflection) for the Third Sunday of the Year (C) (24th January, 2016) on the Gospel

Neh 8:2-6.8-10;
Ps 18:8-10.15. (R. Jn 6:63);
1Cor 12:12-30 or 1Cor 12:12-14.17;
Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21.

One priest was reported to the bishop by some of his parishioners. On the day the bishop fixed to hear from both sides, the spokesperson of the aggrieved parishioners, an old man in his seventies said virtually everything with the exception of anything good about the priest. Wondering if the priest went to the parish just to do all sorts of evil the bishop asked them whether he actually did all the things they accused him of. He went on to tell them that even if he decided to do only evil he would not have been able to do all they have said. After looking at themselves for a while, the spokesperson said to the bishop, “My Lord, it is not that he has actually did all these. We decided to accuse him of both the ones he has done and those we think he will do in the future if he is allowed to stay further. It is left for him to wriggle himself out of them. And let him bear the consequences of those he fails to escape from”.

Topic: Always say the truth.
Two main themes in today’s gospel are the purpose of Saint Luke’s gospel (Lk 1:1-4) and the beginning of the Galilean ministry (Lk 4:14-21). Saint Luke knew that he was not the first to embark on the project but he “too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account ... so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed” (Lk 1:3-4). And the second part portrays Jesus as the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophesy, cf. Is 61:1-2. Our homily however will be based on the first part (Lk 1:1-4).

Luke clearly stated that he was not an eyewitness (Lk 1:2). He did a careful investigation to write an orderly account for Theophilus to know the truth concerning the things he has been instructed. Luke did not intend convincing Theophilus through deception because “He who speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit” (Prov 12:17).

But today, truth has fallen in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter, cf. Is 59:14. Through prophet Jeremiah God accuses the Israelites of not obeying His voice and of rejecting discipline. Again, that truth has perished and is cut off from their lips, cf. Jer 7:28. He goes further “Every one deceives his neighbour, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent” (Jer 9:5).

Although many despise those who speak the truth (cf. Jn 8:45; Amos 5:10) yet children of God cannot abandon truth for lies. God is the truth, cf. Is 65:16; Jn 18:37. Jesus also speaks of Himself, I am ... the truth, cf. Jn 14:6. Again, the Holy Spirit is the truth, cf. 1Jn 5:7. And no lie can be found in the truth, cf. 1Jn 2:21.

On the contrary, the devil hates the truth, because there is no truth in him. And when he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies, cf. Jn 8:44.

Children of God must remember that God’s word is truth, cf. Jn 17:17. And the summary of His word is also truth, cf. Ps 119:160. The household of God, the church of the living God, is both the pillar and bulwark of the truth, cf. 1Tim 3:15. But unfortunately, it seems that many have exchanged the truth about God for a lie; they worship and serve creatures rather than the Creator, cf. Rom 1:25. The sanctity of the house of God must be maintained at all cost no matter what one thinks is at stake. Sanctification of souls should be paramount. Handle the word of truth correctly, cf. 2Tim 2:15. We must do everything only for the truth, cf. 2Cor 13:8.

Saint Paul begs us all to guard the truth that has been entrusted to us by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us cf. 2Tim 1:14. We all ought to put away falsehood and speak the truth to our neighbours, cf. Eph 4:25. But we must speak the truth in love, cf. Eph 4:15. Let no one sacrifice the truth on any altar, cf. Prov 23:23. Saint Paul also calls on us all to celebrate not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, cf. 1Cor 5:8.

Dear friends, the parishioners who reported their parish priest to their bishop levelled against him all sorts of lies just to make the bishop see him as a devil. Even if you have an issue with somebody, always say what you know about the person. Do not lie against anybody even against the devil. Anyone who wishes to worship God must do so in spirit and in truth, cf. Jn 4:24. Children of God are children of truth.

Bible Reading: Jas 5:12; Matt 5:33-37; Ps 15; Prov 23:1-35; 1Tim 6:3-10.

Thought for today: “... the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:32).

Let us pray: God, give us your light and your truth; let them lead us to your holy hill and to your dwelling – Amen (Ps 43:3).

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