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Monday, December 28, 2020

Reflection 2020-12-29 Tuesday Octave of Christmas – St Thomas Becket

1 John 2:3-11; Psalm 96; Luke 2:22-35
St Thomas Becket
St Thomas Becket
The word love today means not to speak the truth so as not to offend anyone. The word hate means to say something that offends. But these are not the true definition of these words. Sad to say, these definitions are even used by people who call themselves Catholics. But what do these words mean? John tells us: whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. Love is the love of God made perfect when we obey his word. If love is perfected through obedience to God’s word, disobedience to God’s word is hatred. John also tells us: whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness. Love does not lead others to sin. Hatred leads people into sin, because the person leading them to sin is in the dark and is blind.
Any Catholic who twists God’s word to cause others to sin is doing an act of hate. Any Catholic who speaks God’s word to correct others act in love. We should not believe anyone who acts in hate even if they say they claim to be Catholics, because in truth, they are not.
The Gospel shows us how Simeon acted in love. He acted in love when he spoke the truth to Mary:
  1. The child will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed. He did not tell Mary that the baby will grow up to be a king and everyone will follow him. Instead, Simeon said, many will oppose the child when he grows up.
  2. A sword will pierced your own soul. Simeon did not say life will be great and there will be no suffering. Instead, he said Mary’s soul will be pierced. Mary will also suffer much.
Love speaks the Truth while hate speaks lies. This Truth is the Truth of God, and not the opinion of others. Hate encourages evil and leads others to sin. Love leads others to repentance and to life, even to the point of giving up one’s life.
We also see this in the life of Thomas Becket. When he was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century, he came into conflict with the king because the king wanted Thomas Becket to put the interest of the government over the good of the Church. All the Bishops of England agreed to what the king wanted except for Thomas Becket who eventually agreed in principle but refused to sign the agreement. This led him to escape to the European mainland and was protected by the king of France. With the intervention of the Pope, Thomas Becket was allowed to return to England.
When three English bishops crowned the heir apparent as king, Thomas Becket excommunicated the three bishops because the coronation of the monarch was the privilege of the Canterbury see. When the king heard of what Thomas Becket did, the king said Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest? This was interpreted by some in the court as a command to execute Thomas Becket. Thomas Becket was assassinated in his Cathedral for defying the king and claiming what rightfully belongs to the Church.
Today, many governments overstep into the realm of faith and morals, dictating what is acceptable and what is not. Passing legal and yet, immoral laws. This lockdown is a clear proof the government overstepping itself by taking away the freedom of worship from citizens. Thomas Becket gave up his life to protect the rights of the Church and her children out of his love for them.
Lord, help me understand what true love is: obedience to your Word. Teach me also to have courage to stand up for the Truth, even to the point of giving my life for it. Give us courageous bishops, priests and deacons who will stand against the abuses of government and speak out in Truth, to protect their spiritual children and their spouse, the Church. St Thomas Becket, pray that our bishops may stand for the good of the Church and of her children.

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