Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
(Galatians 2:1-2.7-14; Luke 11:1-14)
Pope John Paul II, who is legitimately called “the Great,” received his doctorate degree from the University of St. Thomas in Rome. One of his professors, an elderly Dominican priest whom the pope credited as having special influence on him, was once asked how he remembered the future pope. The old man confessed that he had so many students over his decades at the university that he could not remember him. His surprising comment has been cited as a mark of honesty.
St. Paul writes of a situation in which he was called to respond with equal honesty. He saw Peter eating what was probably pork with the non-Jews of the Christian community in Antioch. But as soon as Jewish officials from Jerusalem arrived, Peter separated himself from the ham eaters. In order not to confuse non-Jewish Christians, Paul speaks out against what he calls in today’s passage from his Letter to the Galatians “hypocrisy.”
Too often we try to please ourselves or others by disregarding the truth. It is not easy to tell a friend that he is doing something sinful or to speak up when an official equivocates about what is happening in one’s firm, but there is an obligation to do so when such action results in harm. Paul is not afraid of being honest because he knows that Christ is with him. He is also with us. After thoughtful, prayerful reflection we should not remain silent when we see people being hurt by another’s transgressing the truth.