Sunday, May 17
Sixth Sunday of Easter
John 14: 15 – 21
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Right before Pilate turned Jesus over to be crucified, he asked, “What is truth?”
He was standing right before ETERNAL TRUTH and yet he did not recognize the truth. I wonder why we don’t recognize truth, or why we have trouble sometimes separating truth from falsehood. It reminds me of a story.
The TRUTH was going into town to give a speech. As the Truth was walking to town a Lie caught up with the Truth and asked where he was going. The Truth said he was going into town to give a speech. A Lie said, “Can I come too?” The Truth said he didn’t mind. So, the Truth and a Lie walked together on the road toward town. On the way they came to a pond and the Truth said he wanted to go for a swim. Truth invited a Lie to join him, but a Lie said he didn’t feel like swimming. He would just wait for the Truth to finish his swim.
So, the Truth took off his clothes and went for a swim. While he was in the water swimming, a Lie took off with the Truth’s clothes. He put on clothes of the Truth and headed into town. When the Truth finished with his swim, he looked around for his clothes but all he saw were the clothes of a Lie. Refusing to dress himself in the clothes of a Lie the Truth went naked into town.
As the Truth approached the town, he saw a crowd gathered. As he got even closer, he saw a Lie dressed as the Truth giving a speech. Unable to contain himself he shouted, “That’s a Lie, dressed as the Truth!” The people turned and saw the naked Truth and they turned their heads in shame and continued to listen to a Lie dressed as the Truth.
You see often people choose to see a Lie dressed as the Truth rather than face the naked Truth.
Even while we are still in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic stories and rumors circulate in great abundance. We are being bombarded from all realms – political (local and global), medical, familial, emotional and spiritual. Do this to cure the virus, no do this to cure it. This country was to blame. No it started here. Listen to this expert, no listen to this one. Social distancing is crazy — no, social distancing is the best way to contain the virus. It is a man-made virus. No, it was sent directly from God; no, it is an act of nature. It goes on and on until our minds are swirling in thousands of different directions.
In the area that is most sacred to us, our faith, the facts and opinions will go on and on as well. We will hear many things about Church and our spiritual well-being. “It worked out just as well attending Mass by live stream.” “No nothing can replace Mass in Church.” “Maybe community is not the best model for our faith.” “No, this experience has shown how important parish community is for us.”
Maybe we need to look at new ways to be Church instead of trying to figure out ways to perpetuate something that will never be the same again. The complexity, for me, is heightened the more important the issue. “What is truth?” We will have to listen; we will have to muddle through together and be willing to build the bridge as we cross it. We will have to pray and search and be open to things that may be very different from what we now know or have yet to imagine. Some truth will be lies dressed up to look like truth. Some things will be the naked truth.
“You see often people choose to see a Lie dressed as the Truth rather than face the naked Truth.” Which one will you choose? Which one will our Church choose?
How will we as individuals and as a faith community begin to sort things out?
Jesus gives us the answer in today’s gospel passage. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. God sent us an Advocate – the Spirit of Truth and that Spirit lives within us. BUT – we will have to be still, listen with open mind and open heart to bring forth this Spirit of Truth. Church will be different after the “coronavirus dust” settles and together we will have to respond to God’s call to rebuild my church. We will do it by separating lies dressed up as truths and embracing the naked truth and it is going to take a long time.
-Sister Teresa Tuite, OP