In today’s readings, we hear stories of people standing in front of the authorities of their day, and having to speak their truths no matter what the cost. The family in Maccabees spoke their truth and were tortured for it. They showed unflinching bravery in the face of certain death, so much so that even the king who ordered the punishment marveled at the way they accepted it.
In the Gospel we hear the story of Jesus being questioned by the Sadducees on the legality of marriage, remarriage, and how that would all look in the next life. With their questions, the Sadducees were trying to undermine Jesus’ authority as a teacher. A teacher has to be ready for moments like these. If you stand in front of a classroom, sooner or later someone is going to try to trip you up.
Then as now, the best way for a teacher to react is not to overreact. It’s usually a good idea to take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What is this person really asking? What do they really need to know?” Of course, Jesus had the advantage of being able to look into the human heart and see all the motives, methods, and chaos within. He could speak from a position of authority that flowed from his utter belief in his mission and his unshakable identity as the Son of God. He didn’t need to study or make notes. Jesus needed no prep work before he stepped into the temple or the marketplace. We can hear the assurance that comes to him from the Father, through the Spirit, in everything he says.
Do you have something looming ahead for you this week that will require you to stand up and tell your own truth? Maybe it’s a big test or an important meeting or a difficult conversation with a friend or family member. I’m not suggesting that you don’t have to prepare. But in situations like that, as Christians we can take a moment to place our minds and our words in the service of Jesus and his mission. We can lay our hands on the truth that God puts within us, and claim the courage to speak it. As Paul writes, “We are confident of you in the Lord that what we instruct you, you are doing and will continue to do. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God.”
Then take a deep breath, and begin.
To view the full scripture reading, click here.
The V. Rev. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S., is the provincial director of the Cincinnati Province. Previously, he served as the secretary general of the worldwide Congregation and was also in ministry at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., of which he is an alumnus.