What is Truth?

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An acquaintance of mine believes in the truth of the Gospel. And, as he waves his Bible in the air, he says Catholics do not follow the true Gospel. His comment reminds me of Pilate’s sneering question to Jesus, “What is truth?” 

Jesus gave no verbal reply because truth is action. Truth is encounter. Truth is accompanying the other, as he or she is, without a predetermined agenda. Truth is tenderness and mercy. It is what we do. 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “whoever lives the truth comes to the light.” Every attitude, gesture, decision, and choice we make enlightens us. The way we live testifies to the truth—the truth that God’s love is boundless and merciful. 

My acquaintance is fond of quoting John 3:16, the opening verse of today’s passage, as the “true” Gospel. I believe he understands the line to mean that God loved the world so much that he sent his beloved Son. 

But we could also read it as: God loved the world like so—sending his beloved Son as an example of sacrifice for the other. To find our own truth, we have to love the world like so. We have to encounter others and accompany them as they are, sacrificing our own preconceptions. 

The world will come to know the truth of the Gospel not by how accurately we can quote it but by how authentically we live it. 

© Liturgical Press.

Nick Wagner

Nick Wagner, a writer in San Jose, California, is the cofounder and codirector of TeamRCIA.com—a free resource to help parish teams form Christians for life. He is the author of Field Hospital Catechesis: The Core Content for RCIA Formation.

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