Truth has been at risk for millennia. At times, ancient Egyptians
destroyed the faces and names of previous kings carved onto statues
and walls, erasing their memory. In the 18th century, pamphleteers
circulated so much false information that even signers of the U.S.
Constitution shrugged at protecting the press. Seventy years after
the Civil War, in 1935, the scholar W.E.B. DuBois took up his pen to
protest the lack of progress, explaining that American children were
finishing school without accurate information about such issues as
the cause and meaning of the Civil War. In 2017, Collins Dictionary
declared “fake news” the word of the year.
Accuracy is always an uphill climb.
About thirty years after Jesus’ death, the apostle Paul struggled to share the truth of God, saying he understands that his mission is to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things (v. 9). Even though in former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind (v. 5), salvation through Christ is for Jews and Gentiles alike, and Jesus appointed trusted messengers to promote this new relationship between God and people. Messengers like Paul.
The burden of belief is on the messenger. We are stewards of the mysteries of God. The mission is fraught with danger and requires thoughtfulness and caution. We must resist rumors, investigate sources, ponder before propagating, and ultimately seek under- standing. Paul reminds us that we do not control the truth; we are a servant according to the gift of God’s grace (v. 7).
When you hear rumor or news, do you ask questions about its truth or retweet and disseminate first?
Dear God, grant us discernment to understand your will, to focus on your word, to unlock what we can of the divine mystery of salvation. Amen.