Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain

Who doesn’t remember that moment of the big reveal, when Toto sniffs out who the Wizard of Oz really is…not the great and powerful Oz, "but just a common man" as he said himself. What is it about the fake, the pseudo, the inauthentic that drives us all a little nuts? This way of lying or pretending to be something one is not can be found in all ways of people, politics and even Priesthood at times. Integrity and trusting everything you hear or read can be a dangerous way to live. There have always been frauds and scoundrels (phishers and scammers nowadays) who are always trying to take on an inauthentic identity just to take what you have.

It even happened to me once the news got out that I am helping out at your parish (scammers have been doing this to ministers for the past 15 years so they can take your trust and money). I received a notice from Lisa from our office that a couple parishioners called saying that they received a text from someone claiming to be me and asking for you to help. PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT PERSON BEHIND THE CURTAIN OR TEXT! No person of any integrity would ever text or email you to help them with gift cards or cash for someone in need. Real people do need help at one time or another, but never give into the liars who want to hurt you. It seems to be the way of the liar himself, Satan, who always wants to misdirect and take your trusting heart to manipulate it for some scheme or sin. Our patron, Saint Thomas More knew it all too well. His friend, King Henry VIII, wanted to be someone other than he was supposed to be…including wanting to be some divine gift that decided who lived and who died based on whether they followed his commands. Even though the he tried to present himself as some great and powerful wizard of Britain, he was just a common man and not God. Sir Thomas More respected him as his friend and King, but when he became King Henry’s Lord Chancellor he would not sign the mandatory oath of supremacy. Sir Thomas More would not betray who he truly was a Roman Catholic and therefore was convicted of treason. This defender of the faith, our brother and martyr, was beheaded July 6th, 1535 (feast day June 22). Just before he died, Thomas wrote a letter to his daughter Meg and reminded her why his death was necessary:

"I cannot but trust in his merciful goodness…His grace has strengthened me until now and made me content to lose goods, land, and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience…his grace shall give me the strength to bear it patiently, and perhaps even gladly. By the merits of his bitter passion joined to mine and far surpassing in merit for me all that I can suffer myself, his bounteous goodness shall release me from the pains of purgatory and shall increase my reward in heaven besides. I will not mistrust him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear… Meg, I trust that his tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe and make me commend his mercy. And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best."

Not once did Sir Thomas talk against the King and not once did he abandon his trust in Jesus’ loving providence. On this patronal feast day weekend, may we always be as Thomas, no matter however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.


Fr. G. David Bline

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