The Christian as a Controversial Figure

TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Jer.38:4-6.8-10/Ps.39:2-4.18/Heb.12:1-4/Lk.12:49-53


The Christian as a Controversial Figure


Truth is the admittance of reality; it dwells in authenticity; it believes in realism for the preservation of the integrity of all things and above all the human dignity in ways that will protect the fullness of the divine presence in humankind. It has no silhouettes; it lives in no one’s shadow; its radiance confronts the darkness and exposes deceptions at its core. It is determined in its efforts to eliminate deception and to assist humankind towards full transcendence in God through Christ Jesus. Jesus in three ways defined himself as the ultimate definition of truth: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light (Jn.14:6).” In other words, in God, there is no darkness (1Jn.1:5). Outside of this definition of truth, humankind cannot attain the fullness of the divine existence for which God made them.


Contextually speaking: truth based on the definition of Christ is controversial. Those who pursue dishonesty and the manipulation of others cannot reconcile their agenda with God’s plan of action for humankind in the world. They will do all within their power to distort the truth, obstruct the way, and extinguish the light. The experiences of Jeremiah and Jesus in today’s first reading and the gospel respectively, are lived examples of this cliché. Those who speak the truth, those who try to name the way for the oppressed, and those who try to enlighten the mind of those who dwell in darkness and live in the shadows of death are treated as obsessions worthy of character assassination, imprisonment or elimination.


Jesus saw himself as a divisive figure only because he understood truth always drives a wedge among the advocates of deception, exploiters and their likes. The use of fire as a metaphor in today’s gospel adequately addressed the mission of truth in the lives of humankind. It seeks to purify the intentions of the human heart, justify and glorify them as heirs of God and coheirs with Christ. Truth unsettles people in their complacency and challenges them to face and embrace reality for their positive view towards their development and salvation by renouncing the unnecessary paraphernalia that is likely to deter their human and spiritual growth (Jn.10:10)


The author of Hebrews, however, speaks of controversy between deception and truth in a different light. He challenges believers to take cognizance of the great cloud of divine witnesses that surrounds and engulfs us – nothing escapes their attention – every day they give God a true account of our activities on earth. He begs us to take heed of our habitual sins and the consequence they will have on us on judgment day. Put differently the author of Hebrews is begging us to reject deception and lies, live in the truth, do set ourselves on fire, but walk in the Way, the Truth and in the Light even if we have to suffer humiliation or even death to avoid the errors of deception, sin and rejection from the kingdom of God.


Finally, we must always bear this in mind: every Christian is called to be a controversial figure like Christ. It is his/her task to set the fire of truth ablaze so that the hearts of all nations will be purified, justified and sanctified by the truth of the gospel.


O God, set my feet along the way of Christ, open my heart to his truth and enable me to walk always in his light.

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