For some time now we have been reading from the Farewell Discourse of Jesus in St. John’s Gospel. Today that reading is paired with a farewell discourse of St. Paul to the community of Ephesus. St. Luke employs all the narrative techniques that are part of such discourses as St. Paul warns the community about the future while urging them to pass on the Good News that they have heard. Like St. John, St. Luke also includes prayer in the passage, but in this case it involves the community praying with Paul that catches our attention.
Both the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles focus the discourse on the importance of clinging to the truth. Throughout his life St. Paul has been followed by men who wished to distort the message that he preached. In his life, Jesus was constantly challenged by the chief priests and the elders of Israel who tried to twist his words in such a way that they distorted the truth that he preached.
Of course, we are also supposed to be guarding the truth in our daily preaching and activity. In this task, we are aided by the Holy Spirit who teaches us the truth.
Truth has taken a beating in the recent past. Rather than confront the difficulties that face our society today, many have taken up the tactic of bullying, name calling, and belittling others. There is a new term that is frequently used: “fake news.” People have grown more accustomed to reacting rather than acting. All of this is directly contrary to the Gospel which calls us to be witnesses to the truth that we find in Jesus.
We are called to preach the Good News of Jesus and to embrace the truth even when it means that we have to admit that we are not all that we should be. The Eucharist we celebrate must be more than simply accepting Jesus into our lives. We must also share the faith that brings us here with others.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator