Wednesday Fifth Week Lent 2011 The Truth Will Set You Free

                                                    Mass readings for today are here

Gospel ; John  : 31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone. 

How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.

A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains. 

So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.

I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you. 

I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.” 

Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham. 

But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;

Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”

So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God.” 

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;

I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”


 Ron Rolheiser has a fine reflection here from which this is an edited extract :

 "As I took my final exams in the seminary, one of the priests who examined me, gave me this warning: "Be careful," he said, "never let your feelings get in the way. Don't be soft, that's wrong. Remember, hard as it is, only the truth sets people free!" Sound advice, it would seem, for a young priest.

However, as the years of my ministry move towards middle-age, I feel more inclined to the old priest's advice: We need to risk God's mercy more. The place of justice and truth should never be ignored, but we must risk letting the infinite, unbounded, unconditional, undeserved mercy of God flow free. 
The mercy of God is as accessible as the nearest water tap, and so we. like Isaiah, must proclaim a mercy that has no price tag: "Come, come without money and without virtue, come everyone, drink freely of God's mercy!"

"What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him." But the truth of Jesus led to his death- so often we remember that the freedom Jesus brings can bring suffering and even death. Christians in many parts of the world today suffer and are killed for their faith.

Truthfulness can be both a challenge and a danger, for we have to live with the consequences of the truth we tell and /or uncover. 

Truthfulness is essential when we have to move from human ideals to practice; but it is also an essential, practical component of any type of reform, both ecclesial and personal. 

George Orwell said it well : "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." 

In The Ivory Coast they hope to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as part of the way forward in the aftermath of division and recent killings.

This process follows in the footsteps of South Africa and is seen as a way of managing bitter conflicts and allowing people to move on with their lives.

Jesus had warned us to beware of false prophets, who come to us in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them.

He warned us against being deceived by people who come promising to tell us the truth but in fact are merely serving their own agenda. 

When God's good news is preached truthfully, it is a gift given freely and without reserve. It is always a truth couched in compassion as well as justice.

We can recognise it by the goodness it produces. When it is preached for self-serving purposes, it will all too readily become apparent. 

That is why Jesus chose to spend time with people who were aware of their sins and acknowledged their weakness and who longed for the truth that would set them free. 

Viktor Frankl, was a Holocaust survivor, psychologist and author of a series of books about man’s search for meaning. 

He converted to Catholicism as a result of a fundamental truth he learned from his experiences in a concentration camp where he witnessed incredible acts of human kindness alongside people behaving like animals.

He was puzzled by why some people would be so selfless and others selfish. One day, when he was working out in the fields, where the conditions were harsh and guards would regularly beat prisoners, he realized that he was able to transcend that to experience a separate joy.

He didn’t know if his wife was alive or dead, but thinking about her connected him to the love he felt for her, would always feel for her and would never go away.

He drew a connection between that experience and others’ selfless acts. 

Frankl stated that the truth of those who are able to give selflessly understood that their bodies would not survive this world but love of one another would. To those people, loving others became a driving force and a truth that set them free.

Richard Rohr says he is "convinced that the famous line of Jesus "The Truth will set you free" is not referring to some kind of dogmatic truth, but would better be translated as Honesty will set you free." 

Now that's controversial !
Extracted from an interview with Richard Rohr on "The Path To Spiritual Maturity" from here

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1 comment:

claire said...

Ah, it is so nice to be back and to enjoy the feast once again that you have prepared for us.
I very much like Viktor Frankl... For some reason, he holds a very special place in my heart. He brings goodness and hope...