20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C 2019

1. Back in 2006 I went to the movies. 2. The movie I went to see that day was not a comedy, or action film. 3. It was a documentary. 4. it had its roots in what was originally, of all things, a. a slide show presentation Senator Al Gore developed i. to explain and warn anyone who would listen, ii. about the growing scientific consensus 1. that the world was growing warmer, 2. and that this change was caused by us. 5. Now like most moderately liberal New Yorkers, I was “for” the protection of the environment. I separated my trash. Recycled. I took public transportation. 6. But that film brought all the stories and reports on climate change together into a coherent narrative a. which challenged me to rethink b. not just what I bought or threw out, i. but the way I lived. 7. The documentary was titled An Inconvenient Truth. 8. And for many it was – a truth so inconvenient that it had to be fought at all costs. a. The science behind it was attacked, b. The experts it cited were ridiculed, c. And the proponent of this inconvenient truth, Al Gore? Well we saw what happened to him. 9. Now my point in remembering this film is not to debate its merits; a. indeed, the effects of climate change are now so visible, so tangible, i. that only the fossil fuel industry, ii. and the politicians they have in their pockets, 1. continue to maintain that things are just fine. 10. My point is that inconvenient truths aren’t just the topics of movies. 11. They are everywhere; we find them a. When our brother is drunk yet again, and we realize he has a problem, b. When our coworker is unfaithful to their spouse and their spouse comes around asking questions c. When a friend comes out, and we are faced with what for her is her deepest truth. d. When victims of sexual abuse and harassment share their stories after years of secrecy and fear e. and victims of mass shootings once again ask why? 12. WE find them in life and thus we should not be surprised that we find them in the Bible. 13. We find them In the city of Jerusalem in the first reading a. The city is under siege b. Things are desperate. i. Water is running out. There is no food. 14. The only choice would seem to be surrender. a. But not for the King. 15. For him the problem isn’t the lack of food or water, a. or for that matter the armies outside the gates. 16. For him, the problem is the Prophet Jeremiah, a. who has been preaching for months the inconvenient truth, the difficult Truth the truth that the King refuses to hear b. that the only way to save Judah is to surrender. 17. We even find an inconvenient truth at the root of what Jesus says in today’s Gospel; a. Why, we wonder does Jesus, whom the Bible calls the Prince of Peace, b. speak of coming to bring not peace but division? 18. It is because of the truth that he speaks, a. that God is now calling ALL people to become part of God’s New chosen people b. IN a New Covenant, writ not in the blood of animal sacrifices but in his blood c. With a New Law which sums up the old in the single command to Love. 19. Jesus speaks of division a. because that is the way his hearers will react to his truth, b. Because that is the way we always react to inconvenient truths; we resist. c. We attack the message, d. We kill the messenger. 20. Al Gore’s political career is over. 21. Jeremiah was thrown into an empty water cistern and left to die, 22. And Jesus? Well, we know what happened to him. a. And moreover, we know why- fear! We are afraid because the reason that truth is so inconvenient is that it challenges us to change: i. Change the way we talk to our alcoholic brother ii. Deal with our unfaithful coworker’s spouse, iii. Treat our classmate’s deepest truth, iiii. handle the sexual harassment and abuse in our society and in our church, v. and react to the gun culture which enables the epidemic of mass shootings in our country. 23. For so many the only thing more frightening than the mess our world is in a. is that truth, that inconvenient truth, i. which not only names the problem but then 1. moves us, 2. encourages us 3. challenges us to change. 4. be it as individuals, as a nation or as a church. 24. Many people would say that we live in a world which truth has been replaced by Truthiness, to quote late night pundit Stephen Colbert 25. A world where truth is felt rather than known. a. thus everyone has their own “truth”. i. And the word truth has lost any real meaning. 26. Perhaps. 27. But it’s a funny thing about truth. 28. Al Gore’s truth was ridiculed and attacked, derided and forgotten. a. And yet 13 years later i. from the rise of the Green party across Europe ii. to the Fridays for Future movement all over the planet iii. that truth is changing the minds of whole nations - why? 29. Jeremiah was thrown into a cistern and left to die by the king a. And yet he was freed from that same cistern by that same King and allowed to escape– Why? 30. The divisions caused by Jesus’ message caused him to be executed as a criminal, a. And yet to this day that truth at the heart of his message i. still motivates millions to serve - despite all the scandals - as members his church. Why? 31. Perhaps because that truth, which is found at the heart of our faith, the resurrection of Jesus, is about more than just the resuscitation of a Rabbi 2000 years ago – it says something about the nature of truth itself. 32. It is a proclamation that a. even though politicians can be ridiculed, b. prophets rejected, c. and the son of God crucified, d. the Truth is bulletproof. 33. And despite all the half -truths and lies, a. alternative facts and truthiness b. which threaten to bury that inconvenient truth: c. Jesus’ truth, God’s truth in short: THE TRUTH d. will always, sooner or later, rise. Ust like Jesus did. 34. So lets begin. To speak that truth. Like Jesus did, Jeremiah did and so many others since. a. Speak it with love. b. Speak it with compassion. c. Speak it with justice. d. But speak the truth to the best of our ability. As individuals, as citizens, as Catholics. 35. Others may disagree; we can respectfully differ; 36. others may criticize; we can compassionately correct their misunderstandings, and they can correct ours. 37. Some may even attempt to do to us what they did to Jeremiah or even Jesus. a. But no matter. b. Even if we fail, the truth is strong; c. and if we ever hope that our lives, our church and our world will change for the better, d. that will only come when that truth is heard. e. And it will only be heard when we make it known.

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