Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Bring the truth to earthly power

On this 25th day of July, when we celebrate the great apostle James, it is a good time to consider one of the things for which he is famous.  First and foremost, he is remembered as the first official, de facto, leader of the New Community, The Way, as the followers of Jesus were collectively known.  His seat of leadership was atop Mount Zion, the Holy City of Jerusalem.  He is also known for his short but powerful written instruction to the world, The Epistle of James. Finally, and to the point of my present letter he is famous for his teaching about the human tongue.  [James, 3; 1 - 12]  You can imagine that anyone who could have written that must have lived by it first.
When I think of James, I always remember Nathan, the great prophet Nathan,  God's "mouth piece"  bringing judgement down into the ears, heart and soul of the great sinner, saint and  King, David.  Nathan was not afraid of David because Nathan was dedicated to God and God's truth.  Like all God fearing and revering people, Nathan was not afraid to die because he was doing God's work and speaking for God.  He knew that he was right and that the king who had been chosen by God through the service of the Great Patriarch Samuel, knew that he had to listen to God's word coming to him now through the holy prophet Nathan.
We have much to learn from Nathan.  We have much to learn from James.  We also have much to learn from our Weeping Mother, Mary as she appeared to two illiterate children at La Salette in France in 1846, speaking the Naked Truth in stark, real-time terms. The first thing to learn is that closeness to God makes us strong in the truth.
The second thing is that the truth is always produced by God in every age until the end of time.  Jesus used His human tongue to bring the truth home to us.  He showed us that the truth is a sign of contradiction. He showed us that the truth, because it is inexorably from God, is, in fact, a sign of contradiction just as He, Himself and His Father are, and always will be.  Jesus, when His Hour had come, clebrated the truth by testifying to it while standing before the ultimate earthly power, the cruel potentate, Pilate, who, just before handing Jesus over to the Jews and the Roman soldiers asked, "Truth?  What is that?" [John 38, 38]
Closeness to God. The whole truth and nothing but the truth takes away our fear of earthly power.  It doesn't matter what the source of power is, it can never equal the grace of God.  Staying close to the pure, unvarnished truth is therefore a very important virtue for us to practice.  It keeps us close to God, the Pure, Eternal Truth, at every moment.  It is in this actual intimacy that we will find comfort, peace and joy.

We should be aware of this every time we use our tongue to communicate something.  We have some very lofty sacred examples to follow, Nathan, Mary, Jesus, James just to name a few.
Think about it the next time someone asks you "How old did you say you are?"
Don't be afraid to say that you heard it here.  Don't be afraid to refrain from crying at my funeral because I say the truth when I tell you not to do that.

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