REFLECTION FOR TODAY
October 15, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore, whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna;* yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.” Lk. 12:2-5.
Prior to our gospel reference above, Jesus had given a series of direct condemnation on the leaders of the people for their destruction actions, bad examples, and their hypocrisy. As hypocrites the leaders were pretending to have some moral virtues while in truth, they were only deceiving themselves and attempting to deceive people. For that reason, Jesus assists His disciples by sharing with them the fact that all truth will eventually come to light. Thus, every good deed will eventually be seen by all for its goodness, and every evil intent, no matter how hidden, will eventually come to light.
There is an immediate temptation for some people on hearing the gospel reference of today to think about people they think fall into the sin of hypocrisy, it may be far more useful to ponder these truths for ourselves. Jesus is cautioning us that must be people who are truthful in every way. We must be honest with ourselves and make sure that we are fully aware of our inner life, seeing ourselves only in the way that God sees us. This act of honesty and integrity is one of the best ways by which we prepare ourselves for eternal life. How sad it would be if we went through life pretending, on the surface, to be something we were not, only to have the full truth divulged at our final judgment when it is too late to change.
Being honest with ourselves can be difficult. It’s normal for us to want to be good, to want to be holy, and to want others to think this way about us. For that reason, it is very common for us to put forth only the best image of ourselves, hiding many other things that may embarrass us and even humiliate us. And though we do not have any moral obligation to tell everyone about every sin we struggle with interiorly, it is morally essential that we face it ourselves and do so with the grace of God.
Jesus also cautioned his disciples about who to fear. As Christians, our natural human emotion compels us to escape whatever we are afraid of but the divine gift of fear of the Lord has the opposite effect of drawing us closer to God. This is because Godly fear comes with an understanding that God is far greater than us and he loves us dearly. By cautioning his disciples about whom to fear, Jesus challenged them and us to an examination of conscience and motivation. Are we driven by what other people think about us? Do we fear our sin and deficiencies? Do we fear other people’s opinion about us? or do we fear the possibility that we might lose sight of our Father and wander into sin and separation from him?
Reflect, today, upon the importance of striving for a life of true transparency and integrity. The best way to do this is to live every day as if everything within your heart were visible for all to see. If that means you need to change in some way to be at peace with what will eventually come to light, then work diligently on making that change here and now. The opposite of hypocrisy, for which the Pharisees were firmly condemned, is honesty and sincerity. Spend time reflecting upon these beautiful virtues and pray that the Lord will gift you with them so that you can live a life of true integrity here and now in preparation for that glorious day of judgment, when all will be “known” and “proclaimed on the housetops.”
Lord, You see all things. You know my heart in every way. Please grace me with the ability to see myself as You see me and to know my inner heart as You know me. As the deepest truths of who I am come to light for me to see, I pray that I will also have the grace to sincerely change so that I may truly glorify You with my actions and become a source of authentic inspiration to all. Jesus, I trust in You.