Reflection for Friday, December 13, 2019: 2nd week in Advent.

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Fussell, Ronald
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|Being a teacher by training, I find myself pondering the notion of enduring understandings, or how it is that we acquire knowledge that lasts a lifetime.  It is an interest of mine because I see so many examples in society of where enduring knowledge eludes us.  Sometimes, it is because we are not ready to learn the lesson.  Other times, it might be that the teacher was ineffective.  But, in so many cases, it is simply because the truth of the lesson makes us uncomfortable.|When I reflect on today's passage from the Gospel of Mark, I am reminded of that third scenario.  In this passage, Jesus shares his observations of the crowds and how quickly they rejected the truth because of an insincere critique of the teacher.  It was easier to dismiss John's truths because John lived a life of austerity.  Conversely, the truth of the path to salvation was set aside because Jesus was so public with his encounters with sinners and tax collectors.  The truth is not always easy to hear, and it is human nature to find reasons to reject the lesson.|In today's culture and contemporary society, it is not hard to find examples of how we similarly reject the hard truth.  Whether it be with the current sex abuse crisis that is tightening its icy grip on the Church and its faithful, or with the intense misunderstandings that arise about the Church's position about divisive social issues, it becomes all too easy dismiss our faith in favor of the very same brand of ignorance about which Jesus speaks in today's Gospel.  Such behavior leads us down a treacherous road that imperils our very souls.|Our faith journey is organic and dynamic.  It varies from person to person, and we bring our collective experience to bear when we confront the challenges of accepting the hard truth.  For me, today's psalm reveals answers about how we prepare ourselves to be more accepting of those hard lessons:|He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade (Ps 1:3).|Let us consider the source of our faith.  Do we sink our roots deep into the shores near the living waters, striving for a sure foundation that will allow us to confront the challenges of the day?  Or, perhaps, we find our roots seeking stability in a dry and shifting sand that provides little stability against the storm.  Faith, after all, is "vindicated by her works" (Mt 11:19).  Let us commit to strengthen our foundation in faith, to accept the truth for what it is despite our critique of the teacher, and to work together to set the world ablaze with the Glory of God's love.  For this process, after all, is the best recipe for enduring knowledge that will not only last this lifetime, but will prepare us for the next.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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