Truth to Power
It is the role of the prophet to speak truth to power. Jesus told Pontius Pilate “I have come to give testimony to the
truth. Those who seek the truth hear my voice.”Pilate replied to Jesus “Truth? What is truth?” Jesus told his disciples “If you live according to my
word and obey my teachings, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (Jn
In today’s Gospel (Mk 6.1-6) Jesus returns home to Nazareth. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” The people of Nazareth assumed they knew Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph. They were curious about him, but did not believe in him and were actually envious of him and his reputation, power and wisdom. Jesus was very popular outside Nazareth, but soon, the whole nation Israel would turn against
him. The prophet will always face opposition. Truth will always face opposition.
Paul faced opposition in Corinth, in the very church he founded. “Super Apostles” were telling the Gentile converts that they had to become circumcised and practice the Jewish Laws. By the time of this letter, Paul is furious and wonders why the people listen to his opponents more than to him. Paul defends his authority as an apostle and compares himself to the “super apostles”. Paul wrote to them:
“Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. For you gladly put up with fools, since you are wise yourselves. For you put up with it if someone enslaves you, or devours you, or gets the better of you, or puts on airs, or slaps you in the face. But what anyone dares to boast of, I also dare. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? I am still more, with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, far worse beatings, and numerous brushes with death. Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and a day on the deep on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers;” ( 2 Cor 11.23-30)
“If I must boast;… but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know someone in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows), was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this person was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter. ..because of the abundance of the revelations. Therefore, that I might not become too elated a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is
sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,* in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12.1-10)
Paul suffered great opposition, yet God simply answered him: “my grace is enough for you. Power is perfected in weakness.” Paul felt his sufferings were signs of his weakness, yet we can see God’s grace and power that delivered Paul from death time and time again. It is the lot of the prophet, like Ezekiel, to face opposition. God told him the people would be rebellious and hard of heart, but he would speak God’s word and the people would know that a prophet was among them. The Catholic Church today plays the role of the prophet in the world. We speak the truth to the powers that be in the world. The truth subsists in the Catholic Church. The three pillars of Sacred Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium keeps the Church from error, for example: The Church teaches that abortion is an intrinsically evil act, that contraceptives and sterilization are wrong.
Cardinal-Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), sharply criticized the decision by the Obama administration in which it “ordered almost every employer and insurer in the country to provide sterilization and contraceptives, including some
abortion-inducing drugs, in their health plans.” “Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights,”(UCCB Jan. 20, 2012) Our Declaration of Independence clearly states:“We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are created equal and are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Ezekiel was a prophet. Paul was a prophet. Jesus is a prophet. The Body of Christ lives out the ministry of Christ Jesus the prophet. You are I are to speak the truth to the powers that be in this country and around the world. We are to speak God’s truth to anyone who needs to hear it. We are the voice of Jesus that so many need to hear today. Do not be afraid, for God’s grace is enough for us. God’s divine life is in us. When we are weak, God is strong. “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Of whom should I be afraid?” (Ps 27.1)