Free speech (Ord30cThu)

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One of the things today’s gospel tells us is that we shouldn’t be surprised that when we share the good news of Jesus there be some people who tell us to shut up or to go away. Because even Jesus experienced that – copping flak from pharisees determined to police what could and could not be said publicly.  Which is surprising really: because if we really care about the truth, surely there is no problem with open discussion and frank views. As the sciences remind us, this kind of rigorous examination of pros and cons and evidence is the key condition for arriving at a conclusion anchored in reality. That some people in the public sphere want to dictate their own view but shut out any opposing views, or even stoop to calling people who disagree with them ‘haters’ is thus bizarre, unreasonable and narrow-minded.

We know here that Jesus is the antithesis of hatred: he not only expresses his desire for the good of Jerusalem, but he says these words shortly before he gives his life for the same critics who want to shut him up by killing him.  As the existence of the Church and the whole Christian basis of Western society tells us, that didn’t work then, and wouldn’t now.  It will always be a failed project.   Jesus is risen.   The only risk is that many will unnecessarily suffer for the truth.  Let us pray together for all people of goodwill, that we have hearts open and mature enough to encourage robust discussion on social questions such as marriage, which go to the heart of what makes a good society.