Embracing the Truth

Mark 12:28-34

Finding the truth, the real truth, is a lifelong calling for all of us. And in our quest, those of us of faith find the truth in God.  We’re asked today to embrace that truth, even when it’s not so convenient. The good news is (as St Augustine of Hippo once said) “The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.”

 

In today's first reading, we learn that we are acceptable to God if we share with others the word of truth without deviation or compromise. Our true faith is revealed when we persevere in the truth, not only with our lips but with our lives, even when it’s unpopular or causes hardships.

 

If we cling to the truth no matter what, we remain in God. It's our protection against slipping away from Christ and losing our salvation.

 

The founder of the Missionary Society of St. Paul, Isaac Hecker, explained it this way: "The human mind was made by its Creator for truth, and in the absence of truth it ceases to live. When it refuses its assent to truth, it is either because the truth has been distorted and made to appear false, or because it is seen through a distorted medium.”

 

This has never more been true than today in this instantaneous media age, where the truth gets lost in the firestorm of what story got out there first and the ongoing politically correct secular media narrative.

 

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. If we deny any truths, we deny him. And if we deny him, he tells us that our appearance before him will have become distorted- we appear as Satan. We were made in the image of God, and in our baptisms, we were purged of the disfiguring mark of original sin and were reborn into God's likeness. But anyone who deliberately turns away from the truth about Jesus loses that likeness.

 

Whenever we're unfaithful to the truth, in omission or commission, behaving as if God is somehow removed from us, we're turning away from the truth and from Jesus who is Truth.  These could be the small venial sins we engage in, where we slightly turn away, or mortal sins, where we’ve taken ourselves far from God's love and Christ's salvation.

 

Yet no matter how distorted our appearance has become, no matter how far we turn away, no matter how unfaithful to the truth we become, Jesus remains faithful to us. He waits on us. He waits for our return, and he waits patiently for the return of others who we love and care for who might have lost sight of the truth, despite our efforts.

 

There’s probably not a single person at Mass today who doesn’t have a loved one that no longer finds a need to go to church. We need to take comfort in the fact that Jesus hasn’t given up on them. The door is always open, and he’s doing something about it, trying to bring them back.

 

The truth will win out, despite the world’s narrative of lies entrapping those we love at every turn, leaving us to feel that we’re seemingly powerless to defend the truth. But remember again, “The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Just let it loose and it’ll defend itself.”

 

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus defines truth in simple terms: Love, love for God, caring about him first and above all other priorities and desires, and loving others as much as ourselves, caring about their needs as much as our own. Every truth is rooted in love, and it’s our best strategy to overcome the untruths that surround us. It’s also our best strategy for allowing those who have fallen away to someday return.

 

So we ask Jesus today to help us love everyone unconditionally, as Jesus himself loves them. We are Jesus’ loving hands and feet.

 

Our prayer then is: Lord Jesus, You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Make the truth plainly obvious to us, and those we love.  Holy Spirit, give us better understanding of the truth and help us to humble ourselves in love for others. Help us also to take comfort in your truth; that as long we hold on to it, this lion will do its work, both for the benefit of our own salvation and for the salvation of those we love.

Amen!

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