Breath of the Spirit Reflection: Finding Truth on the Fringes
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January 31st, 2021: Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Reflection from Tom DeVoyd
In today’s reading from Deuteronomy, God promises to raise up a prophet amongst the Israelites, pledging that someone similar to Moses would come. This might make us wonder, why doesn’t God simply speak without prophets? The simple answer is that the people were terrified to hear the God’s voice. Earlier, the Israelites refused to listen to God. So, does this mean that the prophet can say whatever they want and claim that it is directly from God? The passage warns against these false prophets, those who would spread lies and do harm. The Israelites are posed with a dilemma: who will they listen to? Who will they find truth from?
We sometimes find ourselves in a similar situation, trying to discern the truth, and navigating seas of falsehood. In today’s world of escalating misinformation and blatant lies, we must be careful where we get our information. We cannot simply take what people say as truth. For many of us, we’ve encountered far too many falsehoods about being LGBTQI people. Lies about who we are, the people we love, what God thinks of us. We are all trying to find the truth among all the voices around us, but the lies take their toll, especially when they come from those holding religious authority.
In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. The people said that he taught as someone with authority. At the time, the rabbis held authority when it came to interpreting the scripture; the fact that people in the synagogue felt that Jesus spoke with authority was contentious. It defied the authority of the rabbis. This is true today as well. Authority can be found in places beyond those seen as holding religious authority. God is the truth we still seek. We continue to study the Bible its relevance for us today. God still has a lot to tell us. I think that the world has changed much, but passages such as “love thy neighbor” ring true. “Our neighbor” still is all that we meet. I am hopeful the future will lead to a world where everyone is treated as our neighbor.
How can we discern the truth? Jesus invites us to look towards those who challenge the traditional structures of authority and who come close to those on the fringes of our communities for truth. In these instances when norms are disrupted and healing acceptance occurs, we begin to find truth.
It is often hard for LGBTQI Catholics, including me, to feel that acceptance. Today, I feel accepted by the people around me, but it was a long road. I had to learn to accept myself, and to reject the falsehoods that plagued me. Recently I learned the meaning of the answered prayer. I have had issues in my life. Through prayer and help from friends it’s gotten better. It is not perfect, but I know that it is God that has made my life better. Through these experiences, I came to believe the promise that God listens and will answer our prayer. Like those gathered in the synagogue in Capernaum, I had to see to believe.
Tom DeVoyd is a nurse in long term care and works with resident with Dementia. He is an advocate for his residents and has a Masters’ Degree in Nursing in Adult Psych/ Mental Health. He is also an advocate for the LGBTQI+ community. Tom currently lives in a small town in NH with his partner of years Phil. He enjoys reflecting on the scriptures, and focusing on the world of when the scriptures were written.