“Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” John 17: 17 – 19
In our little household, we were five children, roughly about 2½ years apart. I suspect that we could have been a handful for our parents, especially Mom, as we entered grade school, and especially when we were cooped up inside the house because of weather. As normal kids, we would get into squabbles, about little things and major disputes. Mom had to become defender and arbitrator, judge and jury when conflicts became unsustainable. One of the things we learned early on in our lives was that Mom could always tell who was telling the truth and who was lying, whether it would be the older children or us, the younger ones. Hardly ever did we get punished unjustly, trying to hide behind an untruth.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are filled with examples of the God of Truth and ancestors trying to lie out of difficult situations, from Paradise lost to the first killing of a brother. Personal and community covenants were founded and validated upon the promise of Truth and Fidelity to the Truth. Throughout our Salvation History, time and time again, God and then his Son, Jesus, warned us about false gods, false witnesses, false prophets, false leaders, false testimonies, false apostles who call themselves Christian, to name a few. Exodus 20 ff, lists two of the ten commandments that forbids false gods and false witness. Our first reading for today’s Mass warns against “savage wolves will come among you and not spare the flock.” (Acts 20:29) Jesus, in today’s Gospel, prays that we be consecrated in the Truth and in God’s Word. (John 17:17).
We are called to live a life of integrity, authenticity, honesty, and truth. Even as children, we were tempted to be dishonest, to lie to prevent punishment or to blame others or to deceive another willfully. Many of us will get accustomed to lie in order to save face, to justify what we believe is a greater good or just because it has become a way of life. The alcoholic says that he or she is sober when it is clearly not the case, the cheater will lie when caught red-handed and many a convicted person will swear innocence even when DNA says otherwise.
This is why God and Jesus, and then the Church has insisted that the Truth will always set us free. This is why Jesus consecrates us in Truth. To live a life of integrity and honesty is not easy and will make great demands on us over time and circumstances. We followers of Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, will always be called to live truthfully and honestly, even when it costs us fame and fortune. Our life can only be build upon The Truth. Let us not worry, for God will always be there for us for it is never all up to us!
Let us embrace Jesus’ prayer for us today: “Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” John 17: 17 – 19
Fr. Clemente Barrón, C.P. is a member of Mater Dolorosa Community in Sierra Madre, California.