May 14, 2017
This Gospel takes us back to the Last Supper. In John's Gospel the Last Supper begins with the washing of the feet, the announcement that one among them would betray Jesus, the new commandment to "Love one another, as I have loved you," and telling Simon Peter that he would deny Him. These seem to be the preliminaries before Jesus' important discourse that we hear in the Gospel today. There is much to reflect and speak of in this passage; "Do not let your hearts be troubled," "In my Father's house there are many dwellings…I am going to prepare a place for you," "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father," "whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these," Each of these could be the source for a homily. The saying of Jesus I will reflect on is this, "I am the way and the truth and the life."
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Gospel - John 14; 1 - 12
Jesus tells us that he is the truth. Later in this Gospel when Jesus is before Pilate, Jesus brings up truth and Pilate responds with the question; "What is truth?" We have the truth in Jesus, and we have his word that he is the truth, as well as his teachings and commandments, yet so many people question the truth. We have replaced truth with moral relativism that does not acknowledge any objective truth, but rather that truth is defined by each individual. This moral relativism has become pervasive in our society. How often do we hear in a discussion about some important moral issue when there is disagreement, "that's what you believe, but it's not what I believe." This approach has been subtly incorporated into the language of even the most devout when arguing some issue. How often do we hear, or maybe even ourselves say something like, "Abortion is wrong and is a sin, for me." as though it could be right for others? Moral truth is not a matter of personal opinion, it is the acceptance of the truth of the Gospel. When we create our own truth we have no need of conversion or redemption, for we make ourselves the truth and delude ourselves that all that I think and believe is right, because my opinion is as valid as anyone else's.
Pope Saint John Paul II, and Popes Benedict and Francis have spoken on the error of relativism. Pope Benedict described it as, "Dictatorship of Relativism," and Pope Francis often quoted this when he speaks of various objective truths that are seen as relative to individual views. The church challenges us to turn to the truth of the Gospel, not the false belief that I define my own truth.
In the Gospel Jesus makes it clear that there is an objective truth, and that truth is Jesus. This is a call for us to step aside from the temptation of moral relativism and to reclaim the reality of the truth that comes from Jesus. It is when we accept these truths that we will find ourselves challenged to conversion. Turning away from the false god of self, and turning to the One True God. This is what the Victory of Jesus and our celebration of Easter is about, Jesus is our Savior, and His victory is our victory. He is the one who sets us free and leads us to everlasting life. This calls for us to acknowledge that Jesus is "the way, the truth and the Life." And to allow him to transform us in his truth. Jesus is the truth that will truly set us free, while all else is rubbish.
Fr. Killian Loch, O.S.B.