Fr. Dominic Mary, MFVA
Our Lady of the Angels Monastery
18 April 2008
Friday, Week 4 of Easter Year A
St. John 14:1-6
This homily is the first in a series of three homilies (taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church) on “truth.”
In today’s Gospel Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
I. To Live the Truth
CCC, 2466 In Jesus Christ, the whole of God's truth has been made manifest. "Full of grace and truth," he came as the "light of the world," he is the Truth. "Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness." The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know "the truth [that] will make you free" and that sanctifies. To follow Jesus is to live in "the Spirit of truth," whom the Father sends in his name and who leads "into all the truth."
CCC, 2464 [To represent the truth correctly …] flows from [our] vocation [as Christians] to bear witness to God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of [our] covenan[tal relationship].
CCC, 2467 Man tends by nature toward the truth. He is obliged to honor and bear witness to it. [As the Second Vatican Council said]: "It is in accordance with their dignity that all men, because they are persons . . . are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they come to know it and direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of truth."
CCC, 2468 Truth as uprightness in human action and speech is called truthfulness, sincerity, or candor. Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and in guarding against [the following which are very similar to each other]:
— duplicity: [“contradictory doubleness of thought, speech or action” (Webster’s Dictionary)]
— dissimulation: “to hide under a false appearance” (Webster’s Dictionary)
— hypocrisy: “to effect virtues that one really does not have” OR “the false appearance of the virtue of religion” (Webster’s Dictionary)
CCC, 2469 [As St. Thomas wrote,] "men could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful to one another." The virtue of truth gives another his just due. Truthfulness … entails honesty and discretion.
CCC, 2470 The disciple of Christ consents to "live in the truth," that is, in the simplicity of a life in conformity with the Lord's example, abiding in his truth. "If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth."
II. To Bear Witness to the Truth
CCC, 2471 Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he "has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth." The Christian is not to "be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord." In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep "a clear conscience toward God and toward men."
CCC, 2472 The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known. [As the Second Vatican Council wrote:]
All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation.
CCC, 2473 Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. St. Ignatius of Antioch once wrote, "let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God."
CCC, 2474 The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood. [The words of this prayer addressed to God by St. Polycarp are timeless:]
"I bless you for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among your martyrs.... You have kept your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him, who is with you and the Holy Spirit, may glory be given to you, now and in the ages to come. Amen."