A Reflection for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost—Independence Day Weekend

Embracing the Truth in These Troubled Times

A Reflection for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost—Independence Day Weekend

Gospel Reading Matthew (8:28-9:1)


In one of the most significant trials in human history, the trial of Jesus before Pilate, Pilate asks Jesus, “What is Truth?”


In the Gospel of John, we read “Pilate said to Him, ‘Then You are a king?  Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.  For this, I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.  Pilate said to Him “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38)


What is truth?   What a profound rhetorical question?


When one reflects on the meaning of truth, one realizes that truth is immutable, it does not change.  It is an absolute.  Think of a witness in the courtroom– the witness places a hand on the Bible and swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.’


But what is the source of ultimate truth in this life?


It is Christ Himself—for Jesus tells us “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.  (John 14:6)


In today’s Gospel, Jesus encounters two possessed men and drives the demons out of them into the swine and they meet their doom.   The Truth, Jesus Christ,  by encountering evil destroys evil. Truth overcomes evil.


The importance of truth for us as moral human beings is beautifully expressed in the encyclical of St. John Paul II entitled “Veritatis spendor—the Splendor of Truth.”


The splendor of truth shines forth in all the works of the Creator and, in a special way, in man, created in the image and likeness of God.  Truth enlightens man’s intelligence and shapes his freedom, leading him to know and love the Lord.”


From the truth that we discern and with which are consciences are formed, we increase our understanding of human existence and ultimately our relationship to our Creator, Almighty God.


The prophet Micah reminds us, “You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: “Only to do justice and to love goodness and to walk humbly with your God.”(Micah 6:8)


To do justice and good, one must know the truth.


Sounds simple!  Yet we human beings find such advice hard to follow.


One cannot do justice and love goodness without knowing the Truth-the revealed truth of Jesus Christ and what God, the ultimate lawgiver, provides for us in Holy Scripture.


Think back again to the trial of Jesus before Pilate.


After His scourging, Jesus again came before Pilate, and Pilate asked him, “Where are You from?  Jesus did not answer Him so Pilate said to Him “Do you not know that I have power to release You and I have power to crucify You?”  Jesus answered “You would have no power over Me if it had not been given to You from above.” (John 19:9-11)


What is Jesus telling Pilate? Any power Pilate has comes from God.  That Almighty God is the source of our human governance.  St. Paul states this principle in his Epistle to the Romans, “Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established from God.”  (Romans 13:1)


The ultimate lawgiver is Almighty God.


Our Founding Fathers knew this principle and expressed this reality in these immortal words from the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”


The brave men gathered in Philadelphia in 1776, who risked their lives and their sacred honor to establish this nation, a bold experiment in democracy, acknowledged that all rights are derived not from kings or presidents, or parliaments or congresses. Human beings are endowed with these rights by their Creator, Almighty God..


This Independence Day weekend, let us be grateful and thankful to Almighty God for inspiring our Founding Fathers with the truth and the courage and wisdom to establish for themselves, for us and our posterity this great nation, the United States of America.


And as we enjoy the blessings of liberty, let us walk the Way of Jesus Christ on our journey to eternal life, as we come to know, understand and embrace Him, the Truth of the world.


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