Cliches. Those words or phrases that pop up in our conversations springing from a collection of them we’ve acquired over time.  We are as comfortable with them as when we’re wearing an old pair of loafers, which we might have done throughout the recent Covid lock down.  Some common examples: “Let’s touch base.”  “I’m like a kid in a candy store.”  “We’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing with you” and “Read between the lines.”  I’d like to apply just one for our reflection: “Honesty is the best policy.” Supposedly that last one originated with our own Ben Franklin.  But Shakespeare had written much earlier: “If I lose mine honor I lose myself.”  Mark Twain typically adds a touch of sardonic humor: “Honesty is the best policy when there’s money in it.”  Our sage Thomas Jefferson is appropriately thoughtful: “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”  Finally, Mother Saint Teresa tells us; “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable.  Be honest anyway.” For my purpose, I refer to Our Lord’s dictum, not a cliché at all I think, that to be His disciples: “Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.”  Once again, we have here a case of Our Lord Jesus being totally, if not brutally honest. So transparent that He sets the bar rather high on what it really means to be a disciple, you might add to be a brother or sister to Him.  Yes, honesty is the best policy but not the most likable. I always had a suspicion that there is a tamping down of this belief among some popular televangelists.  I think you know the ones whom I mean.  The backdrop of their often “feel good” sermons before an adoring crowd never features a cross, much less a crucifix (and there is a difference!)  There is rarely a mention of taking up a cross in one’s daily life, because Christianity for them is always pure joy and happiness.  Some assign material prosperity as a guarantee of gospel living.  It’s all indirectly resurrection and very little passion and death.  Perhaps I exaggerate but it is how I perceive them. We know better.  And if we’re transparently honest, living out Christianity is not easy all the time. Especially in our present Western culture, which identifies wealth as a sign of one’s value and importance. We applaud the limousine riders of our day, even rushing to take a “selfie” with them whenever possible.  Who among us would rush toward a beaten Man wearing a crown of thorns that makes His blood trickle down to His eyes? On the other hand, true honesty has to admit that while belief in uniting one’s suffering with that of Christ (the old “offer it up” line) may ease the pain, it does not remove it.  Ask any martyr. But at least we know the pain can be spiritually enriching.  I think of that every time I’m in the dentist’s chair.  But wherever you think of it, hold on to it as the honest truth.  It’s not a cliché, “Pain insists upon being attended to.  God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, and shouts in our pain. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”   (C. S. Lewis, The Problem Pain)  
God love you, and give you His peace!