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I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | The Word of God is the truth that exposes lies

The readings for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time make it clear that God intends to establish His authority on the face of the earth, in the hearts of all mankind so that mankind will come to know Him and accept His invitation to enter into the life of the Most Holy Trinity for all eternity.

In the first reading, God replaces Shebna as the master of the palace and gives that authority to Eliakim. Apparently, there had been mismanagement in the palace, and God didn't want His people to be led astray.

The son of Hilkiah, Eliakim rediscovered the book of the law when the Israelites returned from the exile. Since the law is how God governs His people, it's presumed that Eliakim was a trustworthy choice.

God uses three metaphors to symbolize the authority He gave Eliakim. First, Eliakim is to be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. He can only be a father if he is steeped in the law and uses it to guide the people in the ways of God.

God also gave him the keys to the household, which symbolizes full authority over the people. God said: "When he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open." Perhaps this foreshadows the authority Jesus confers on Peter in the Gospel.

Finally, God fixed Eliakim as a peg in a sure spot. This sure spot is the southern kingdom.

In the second reading, St. Paul has been immersed in God in such a way that he's imbued with God's wisdom and knowledge. God's inner life is at work redeeming Paul, and leads him to explore the depths of God's love. Paul experiences a profound belonging to God, a transformation by God's word.

The Gospel presents us with the dilemma Jesus faces in choosing a leader to establish His authority on the earth. God wants His authority to be established here so that all humanity will come to know and love Him.

Humanity is flawed, so Jesus has no choice but to pick a flawed person. However, in choosing a flawed person, Jesus makes it evident for all generations that God works through this flawed person to establish His authority on earth. The apostles made sure that their sins were recorded in the Scriptures to demonstrate that Christ's infinite mercy shows through flawed people.

The heavenly Father chooses to reveal to flawed Peter that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus immediately says, "For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. ...

"I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

What a gift it is to have Jesus' assurance that through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in Peter and his successors; we have infallible truth to guide us. Jesus said, "The truth shall set you free."

There are two very common sources in which to find the truths that the Catholic Church believes and teaches — the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible. I encourage you to study the Catechism to learn with great clarity what the Church teaches, but I also encourage you to prayerfully study the Scriptures behind those teachings. It's one thing to have clear catechesis, but another to experience the word of God setting us free as we embrace it in prayer. We need to make certain that we have a profound conversion experience before we have catechesis. We need to experience a personal relationship with Jesus for His teachings to make sense.

If you come across a teaching of the Catholic Church that irritates you, rejoice, because you're about to come into a deeper freedom. Don't turn against yourself, and don't turn against the Church, but rather take it to prayer. Find Scriptures associated with this teaching, and sit silently before the Lord and ask Him to lead you to the truth.

If you really want to have a deeper inner freedom, then see the Word of God as the truth that will expose the lies that you have picked up from our culture. Read a few verses of Scripture every day, and give God permission to speak freely to your heart. Don't be afraid. God isn't condemning but only convicting. When He shows you a truth that might hurt, He immediately offers His mercy to bring you healing.

You'll discover that you have a lot of unrecognized inner "static." This inner static is relentless in robbing us of our peace and preventing us from praying and paying full attention to our work. Ask Jesus to lead you to the truth of God's word and set you free. 

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