Wisdom 2:1, 12-22

The godless say to themselves, with their misguided reasoning:

“Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us
and opposes our way of life,
reproaches us for our breaches of the law
and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.
He claims to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a son of the Lord.
Before us he stands, a reproof to our way of thinking,
the very sight of him weighs our spirits down;
his way of life is not like other men’s,
the paths he treads are unfamiliar.
In his opinion we are counterfeit;
he holds aloof from our doings as though from filth;
he proclaims the final end of the virtuous as happy
and boasts of having God for his father.
Let us see if what he says is true,
let us observe that kind of end he himself will have.
If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part
and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
Let us test him with cruelty and with torture,
and thus explore this gentleness of his
and put his endurance to the proof.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death
since he will be looked after - we have his word for it.”

This is the way they reason, but they are misled,
their malice makes them blind.
They do not know the hidden things of God,
they have no hope that holiness will be rewarded,
they can see no reward for blameless souls.

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John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus stayed in Galilee; he could not stay in Judaea, because the Jews were out to kill him.

As the Jewish feast of Tabernacles drew near, after his brothers had left for the festival, Jesus went up as well, but quite privately, without drawing attention to himself.

Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have made up their minds that he is the Christ? Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.”

Then, as Jesus taught in the Temple, he cried out:

“Yes, you know me and you know where I came from.
Yet I have not come of myself:
no, there is one who sent me and I really come from him,
and you do not know him,
but I know him
because I have come from him
and it was he who sent me.”

They would have arrested him then, but because his time had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.
____________________

“They can see no reward for blameless souls”. This line from the first reading strikes me a lot.

I’ve just come back from the second “Porn Stars @ CANA” session and one of the things that was shared at the session that resonates within me, together with the readings of Friday, is that as Catholics, we are called to lead holy and blameless lives, even to the disdain of others. This is the calling to “modern-day martyrdom”, as one of the panelists for the evening shared.

“Modern-day martyrdom” consists of living a life that is different from the flow of society. It calls for living a life that stands out from the other people around us, and to even reproach others for living the way they live. The topic of the evening was pornography, and speaking out against it wherever we are, but it applies to other ethical aspects of our lives as well, such as cheating in school, playing politics in the office, using swear words in the army, etc.

Isn’t it strange that in the gospel reading, Jesus would sneak off to Jerusalem without drawing any attention to himself, and then in full view of everyone including the Pharisees, cry out something which would anger the Jews. He knew he was angering the Jews, but what Jesus did was to speak, no, to proclaim the truth to all.

As Christians, we too are called not to be silent, but to proclaim the truth to all that we encounter. Not necessarily at first sight, because we can, like Jesus, sneak into a place where our words will have maximum impact and reach the most number of people. If we are to be silent, it is only for a while and a means to reach a place where we will be able to reach more people. We are called to spread the Good News, not to keep it to ourselves.

We are called to cry it out, even if we know that we are going to anger people by doing so. That’s a risk that we have to take as Christians, by entrusting our future into the hands of the Lord, who preserves us from eternal damnation. That is our reward, which may not be in this lifetime. But of course, those who do not believe in God will see no reward for us, since they also do not believe in the afterlife. But we do, and we know what we need to do.
____________________

Prayer:
Dear Lord, give us the courage to be a modern-day martyrdom and to make a bold statement for you and the values in which you instil in us. Allow us the grace to place our hope in you, that what we do in this lifetime will have far-reaching effects. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Those who dare to stand up with Jesus against the flow of society.

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