By KRISTINE SCHROEDER
“Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37).
Truth is not popular. It wasn’t in Jesus’ time. It is not today.
Jesus suffered death primarily for the expiation of our sins, thereby opening the gates of heaven for the faithful. However, He also died because he spoke the truth, and the leaders of His world did not want people to hear the truth and follow it. That is the pattern of the world since Adam and Eve, and it continues today. While Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14: 5), our world drifts further from it.
Truth is a process of discernment and conversion. As human beings, we tend to reject what refutes our present lifestyle and hear only what is conducive to our current desires. That choice leads us down a rocky path where faith withers and slowly disappears without our awareness. C.S. Lewis’s prophetic book, “The Screwtape Letters,” illustrates how evil seeps into societies under the guise of acceptance and passivity. The devil convinces us, just as he did Adam and Eve, that God is not the omnipotent Being who loves us and wants only good for us. Rather, the devil insinuates that God’s rules are a hindrance to personal freedom and happiness. Of course, that idea, as it was in the Old Testament, is the big lie.
The world’s promises of happiness from wealth, success and power are similar to a beautifully wrapped present that contains seemingly all that we desire. But, like a child whose expectations are larger than what that box could possibly hold, the world’s promises are fleeting and disappointing.
We live in a culture of untruths promoted by a society that has lost its focus on God and His precepts. We are a proud, stiff-necked people who, similar to the Israelites, want to rewrite the Commandments and rationalize our sinful behavior. However, Father Cajetan Bergamo warned, “The heart of a proud man is like a stormy sea, never at rest.”
Thou shalt not kill. Unless in self-defense or as an accident, taking the life of another is murder. Abortion kills thousands of unborn children every year. Recently, our new President reiterated that he is staunchly opposed to the death penalty (I concur). However, within three weeks of his inauguration, he signed a pledge to fund worldwide abortions. Killing the vulnerable, innocent unborn is acceptable?!
Friends and relatives tell me that while they do not personally agree with abortion, they feel it is an individual choice. Their rationale is usually based on arguments concerning the mother’s health, cases of rape or a child growing up in poverty (all of which have other life-giving options).
The Truth says otherwise. Thou shalt not kill.
Having sexual relations outside marriage is a sin according to the Bible and the Catholic Church. However, a majority of couples today choose to ignore that precept and live together long before marriage vows are recited. Reasons range from financial considerations to “testing” the union to following current societal mores. Whatever the rationale, the truth of the Scriptures remains firm. The teaching has not changed.
The Pope recently made a clarifying statement about the Church’s stance on gay marriage. Acknowledging that all human beings of any sexual persuasion should be respected and accepted, he, however, stated that a marriage between same-sex partners could not be blessed because that would “be blessing sin.” His statement likely convinced even more people to leave the Church as it does not fit society’s current creed that all behavior is a personal choice and should not be infringed upon.
Sin is a word rarely mentioned in society today. We have been seduced by a world that convinces us that the Internet has all the answers and God’s rules are old-school. It only requires watching a few hours of media to realize the detrimental effects of societal straying from the truth of the Gospels.
Living the truth is difficult. God never promised otherwise. However, Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love and … your joy may be full” (John 15: 10-11).