Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Peter 1:10-16; Mark 10:28-31)
Novelist Ann Lamott writes of Rosie, a young tennis player who is prone to cheat. Rosie calls balls that hit the line “out” in order not to lose a point. A man sees her doing this and tells her so. But more than correcting her, he befriends Rosie and admits, “I did what you did....I cheated.” The young player eventually recognizes her fault and overcompensates. She starts calling balls that go beyond the line “in” so as not to appear dishonest. But then Rosie summons the courage to call all the shots as she sees them. One day during a match her friend sees Rosie calling shots correctly and begins to leave. Her mother asks him if he doesn’t want to see Rosie win. The man answers, “’I already have.’”
In today’s first reading Peter calls the Christian community to the integrity which the man calls Rosie. Christians are to give up “the desires of our former ignorance.” In turn, they are to live in accord with the holiness of God. Honesty needs to be implicit in everything they do. For this reason they are to “gird up the loins of (their) mind.” That is, they are not to say things because they are self-advantageous. Rather they are always to speak in ways that are true and helpful to others.
Perhaps more than ever in the communication age we are inclined to lie. Facebook and other Internet aps have facilitated the desire to exaggerate if not to fabricate. To initiate a message or image that “goes viral” fulfills the dreams of many even if it distorts reality. In truth, however, it is just another example of the oldest sin of pride. In line with our Christian vocation we should take care not to exaggerate and never to lie outright.