You Cannot Silence The Truth
Sunday of Week 1 in Lent
Gen. 9:8-15; 1 Pet. 3:18-22 & Mk 1:12-15.
There are two simple but powerful sentences in today's Gospel reading. But they are stated so casually that their significance could easily be overlooked. The sentences are, “After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There He proclaimed the Good News from God.” On the surface these words appear to be nothing more than a simple historical statement. Mark is dating the public ministry of Jesus and saying it started in Galilee right after John had been imprisoned by Herod.
But it is much more than an historical statement. He is teaching us that the truth cannot be silenced.
John the Baptist had pointed out to King Herod that it was wrong for him to have married his brother's wife. So Herod in his attempt to hide the truth about himself had John arrested, locked in jail and eventually executed. He succeeded in silencing John but not the truth. For after John came Jesus and, when Herod heard of Jesus, he thought that John had risen from the dead. He was haunted by the truth and his conscience would not let him rest.
There are times when we wish we could ignore the truth and forget about it. This is because truth can often disturb us, and we would prefer not to face up to it. Some people appear to live as if they have killed their conscience. They know that there is something seriously wrong with the way they are living, but they try to convince themselves that they have no worries nor regrets.
Yet you can never completely silence the voice of your conscience, for truth is patiently persistent. We can lock it up, we can drive it away, but we can never kill it. It just keeps coming back again and again. Herod imprisoned John to silence him but immediately Jesus was on the roads of Galilee spreading the same truth. Then when Jesus is killed we find He is replaced by His friends. Some they lock away, others they put to death. But it seems that every time they get rid of one, two others take his or her place, until finally their message shakes the very foundations of the Roman Empire. All of the world's darkness cannot extinguish the light of the truth.
Such is its power that all the deception and duplicity on Earth can never silence nor destroy it. One voice softly speaking the truth is infinitely more forceful than a thousand voices in unison shouting a lie.
In this modern world Jesus is still with us, bearing witness to the truth. He speaks to our consciences again and again, and His voice will not be silenced. The Good News He wants to tell us is that the kingdom of Heaven is very close to us if only we will repent. It is Jesus who makes us acknowledge our sins, and prompts us to make amends for the wrong we have done. No matter what our sins may have been, our consciences will cease to trouble us once we have sincerely repented, and only then will we be at peace.
Here we are at the beginning of Lent. It is a time of reflection and introspection. A primary concern of ours should be … where do I stand with regard to the truth? Like Herod do we try to lock it away and deny its existence? Or do we face up to the truth about ourselves and constantly attempt to better our lives?