As children, we learned that lying would get us into trouble. As adults, we know that telling the truth can do the same thing!
The Lord told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He got into big trouble because of it, because “there was no room for his word among men.” Déjà vu! At the beginning of his life, there was no room, anywhere, for the Lord. Now, near the end of his life, there is no room for The Word among the hearts of men. The Lord could not deny himself. Nor could he ever deny the one who sent him. Can I deny who I am? Yes, only with a lie. Can I deny the one who has given me life or loved me with a patience that is unknown to man and earth? Can I deny the one who has set me free by guiding me so gently through life’s volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tsunamis and heat waves? Yes, I can, and only because I am so darn stubborn and continue to be a slave to sin.
Recently, I had an encounter with a man who had been poisoned with Christian Fundamentalism or radical Protestantism. Everything I said to him, he protested; even to the point of leaving behind his common sense. He was arguing with me, asking me where in the Bible the rosary was. I told him, “You mean the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory be?” I then proceeded to show him where each verse was located. He would not have anything to do with it. So, I asked him where in the Bible was the word Trinity? He told me the meaning was there. But I reminded him the word wasn’t, and therefore, according to his logic it should not be used, just like the rosary. Then the subject turned to Mary. Poor Mary, always getting a bum rap from her children! Just like so many moms today with their children! He insisted that Mary was just a vessel, a means to an end. I looked at him and said, “Why don’t you say that to your mom.” “Hey mom, just want to let you know that you are really just a tool, an instrument, a vessel to me and nothing more?” Of course he wouldn’t. He doesn’t want to get hit! It is very frightening how someone can argue with you with the bible in their hands and their brain back home! I reminded him, “Do you think that Jesus did not do whatever his mother asked him to do? Do you think that Jesus did not love his mother, with a child’s love, all his life? Do you really think that Jesus would not have taken, as God, the utmost care of his mother after she fell asleep? Do you really think she is dead and waiting the resurrection of body and soul?” End of conversation.
How lonely the Lord must have felt. How insidious the conversations must have been for him with the Pharisees and scribes, and, at times, with even his own apostles!
“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.” Jesus. Truth. Light. All three go together. They can never be separated: I am who I am. There is no dividing him up, like the Holy Trinity, like our common family.
Lord, set me free from the snares of the devil, from the hunter’s snares, from a darkness that can envelope my heart, mind and soul. Set me free from the evil that haunts me of my past sins; that distorts and damages my faith, hope and love in you! Set me free from those who wish me harm, who dig a pit for me, who push me away and wish away my very existence. Lord, set me free and hold me tight in your truth and light. Amen.