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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Plain Talk from Jesus

"The disciples said to Jesus, 'Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.'” Jn 16:29

Especially in the United States, it is important to speak plainly. As a nation, we ask our politicians to work with and for us, to seek simple and honest solutions to common problems and to be straightforward in their approach to difficult choices they may have to make. When our politicians fail in this regard, as they often have in recent years, we wonder about their priorities and whether they are really working for us or are more committed to their party loyalties.

The Jewish community had multiple political divisions at the time of Jesus. The Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and the Zealots were struggling among themselves for control of the Jewish community, and too often their battles obscured the law and the prophets, making it difficult for everyday believers to know what to think, to believe, and how to worship authentically.

Jesus, on the other hand, spoke plainly and with enormous common sense. Careful to include the poor every time he taught, he challenged the leaders of the Jewish community to remember the fullness of the law and not parse it so minutely that everyone was confused. Met with joy and hope by his listeners, Jesus defended the poor at every turn and assured the Jewish leaders that those without a voice had a dignity greater than any fault they might have. In doing this, Jesus also reminds us not to focus on our faults but on the mercy of God.

Today, let your yes be yes and your no be no.

What happens to you when others speak plainly about their faith?

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