“What is Truth?”

Jesus before PilateEvery “Passion Narrative” we have ever heard recalls the intense exchange leading to these words by Jesus: “…and for this reason I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Followed immediately by Pontius Pilate’s stark reply, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38).

“What is truth?” … this rootless relativism (a short teaching on relativism here) is the next problem Fr. Dubay confronts as we look at Christ’s call to Gospel poverty: “Many today will respond to conflicting theories of evangelical poverty by remarking that ‘your position is suitable for you and mine is suitable for me. God reads our hearts; he does not ask that we be scholars. You go your way, and I will go mine.’ My first comment on this view is that it is light years removed from the attitudes of Jesus and Saint Paul and the rest of the New Testament writers. While there is room for some differences in concrete applications, the Gospel doctrine is clear and specific” (p. 27, HAYP).

 It is here that Fr. Dubay marks a very important disinction between contradictory diversity and complimentary diversity. “A complimentary diversity can be good, for in this case different people may be offering insights that complete and enrich one another. They may all be correct. A contradictory diversity is damaging; it can be a disaster. Why? The logician points out that in a contradiction (in which one affirms and another denies exactly what has been affirmed and in the same sense) there is no mutual enrichment. One must be right, and one must be wrong. Which is to say that one must be out of touch with reality. If the reality is important, the result of being out of touch can be a catastrophe. Contradictory opinions, therefore, about social justice, evangelical poverty, sexual morality, and so on are not all equally valid. To hold otherwise is to hold a rootless relativism. It is to be either non- or anti-intellectual, for one operates not on the basis of objective evidences but on no basis at all other than one’s desires and emotions and will” (p. 27, HAYP).

Now, in the context of this discussion, it is worth looking at the words of Jesus: “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” When we sin, we lose our transparency and our childlike openness to the world and God. Temptation gradually isolates us from God, our loving Father, and weakens us until we believe in a distorted image of God, that the enemy wants to give us. Sin introduces self-consciousness and fear into the human experience. Removing ourselves from the presence of God brought about a disintegration of the primary relationships we have. First of all with God – from whom we are still hiding – with others and with ourselves. The truth is, we are alienated from our true selves as long as we listen to any other voice than God.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). In later posts we will see the many non-contradicting ways Jesus reveals his truth to us, understanding he did not commit his message to private persons but to a community, the ekklesia (Church).

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4 Responses to “What is Truth?”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I always leave your blog inspired, Fr. Rick. Thanks for all you do for the Diocese, the Church, and the Faithful.

  2. Mary Smith says:

    I think the line…that we are still hiding is right on the mark. How often do we justify ourselves…to the world, to ourselves, to God. How deep is that pride rooted in our being?

    And in reality…we MUST be open to God, to not hide but to seek him out. But we need to begin with the sacrament of reconciliation.

  3. Steve Davies says:

    I completely agree with Mary. The Sacrament of Reconciliation changes everything. Once I started to get rid of some of the bad things keeping me from God’s grace, The Lord filled those spaces with truly good blessings only possible from Him. The good began to push out the bad. It is still a long journey, and He is still working on the cleansing process with me, but the hardest part is making the conscious decision to begin that process. That is the focus of my prayer for several people close to me as they struggle with various things.

    If everyone only realized how much Reconciliation helps jump start the process, the confessional line would be standing room only. It truly is the beginning of the transformation that God wants for all of us through the Sacraments and the Trinity.

  4. Mary Smith says:

    What I find so disconcerting though is the lack of encouragement given to the laity from some priests. It really begins on the pulpit.

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