When i was assigned to Cuero as a seminarian many years ago, 2003-2004, I was introduced to Fr Kirby, the then pastor of Cuero. He was and is a man of many talents. Gifted in a variety of ways. It was good to see him in action. Though we didn't always see eye to eye. Nonetheless, i have learned to value his input. Even today I seek his guidance when i find myself a bit uncertain in the endeavor of being a pastor to the people of God.
When i was a seminarian he would often ask me if I had a truth sayer in my life. Did i have someone in my life that no matter the circumstance or the consequence would always be honest and truthful about me and my decisions.
They wouldn't tell me what i wanted to hear but they would help reveal the truth of things regardless of what i may feel about seeing it unveiled and revealed in all its ugliness and beauty at the same time.
Do each of us have a truth sayer in our life? Do we have that someone that can be beautifully honest regardless of the consequences? Notice i didn't say brutally honest. There is no room for brutality in regards to honesty and truth. Truth has its own force and sway.
This is what God ask of Ezekiel in today's first reading. Hear the words of commission again, "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestor have revolted against me to this very day. Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they whom I am sending you. But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD, God! And whether they heed or resist-for they are a rebellious house-they shall know that prophet has been among them."
What a beautiful description of a truth sayer commissioned by God.
This commission that rightly belongs to Ezekiel now by baptism belongs to all of us. We too must be the voice of truth for a society that has rebelled against God. Whether they are 'hard of face" or 'obstinate of heart"; whether they 'heed' or 'resist' they should know a prophet has been among them.
This is the role of Christians in a society. We profess the name of Christ not to be "nice" but to be voices of truth in love. Unfortunately, in our society, we have divorced truth from love. We think love is all about acceptance and tolerance. What we forget is that love is about truth and the willingness to sacrifice our own comfort so that the truth of God's love can be made manifest. Too often we cling to our comfort and truth in love suffers greatly.
We can not be a voice that simply says what people want to hear. We can not be a voice that avoids the hot button topics because it may ruffle feathers and get under people's skin. We can not be a voice that speaks only when no body is listening. Truth, like God's word, is a two edge sword; it cuts in order to heal and strengthen.
We receive the same spirit of Ezekiel at baptism and confirmation. We receive the same commission as well. Do people know that their is a prophet in our midst when our presence and word are among them?
Like in the gospel, folks took offense to Jesus because he taught them with authority. We must be ready to embrace the same resistance and reality in our own life.
Interesting that the gospel tells us that because the people resisted Jesus he was unable to perform any mighty deed there...he was amazed at their lack of faith."
But this amazement did not keep Jesus from living the call he had received from his father. So it is with us.
Truth Sayers unite. Truth sayers stand tall. Truth sayers speak up and speak out. We can not be silenced by the crowd.
Here is what the church teaches:
Participation in Christ's prophetic office
904 "Christ . . . fulfills this prophetic office, not only by the hierarchy . . . but also by the laity. He accordingly both establishes them as witnesses and provides them with the sense of the faith [sensus fidei] and the grace of the word"438
- To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer.439
- This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful.441
907 "In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons."443
This week let the truth in love ring loud and clear in your life.