August 14th 2022 Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time


 ‘I am not here to bring peace, but rather division’ Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England was beheaded on a charge of treason on July 6th 1535. He had refused to take the Oath of Supremacy, acknowledge Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church of England or accept the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. His final words before execution have echoed down the ages: ‘I die the king’s faithful servant, but God’s first’. Thomas stood on the side of truth and his words and deeds capture perfectly the essence of today’s extract from St. Luke’s Gospel where Jesus says that He came to bring division. It seems like a contradiction that the Prince of Peace came to bring division. But real peace is based on truth, and if I speak the truth it will at times cause division. The prophets stood for truth, and they were martyred. It has been said that all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident. We must be brave, then. We must have the courage to stand against the crowd at times. We should never worry about who will be offended if we speak the truth; we should worry, rather about who will be misled and damaged if we don’t speak it. The fact that a great many people believe something is no guarantee that it is true. ‘The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth’(Laozi). Pope Benedict reminded us that whenever we find ourselves on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Truth cannot be determined by majority vote, but as in the case of Thomas More, it will set us free