Spiritual Advisor (Each month, a Spiritual Advisor will write an article)
Since presenting the homilies for Good Friday and the Fourth Sunday of Easter, I’ve been contemplating on Pilate’s question, “What is truth” and what it takes to listen to and hear the voice of the Good Shepherd.
Some 2,000 years later, it seems our society asks the same question, for similar reasons and in the same manner as Pilate, “What is truth”. Our culture, political leaders and parties, civic leaders, world leaders, the media and others, including some Catholic leaders, seem to manipulate the truth to fit their respective agendas. Our culture promotes a sense of relativism where each person has their own truth to fit their own needs. Many will deny and manipulate what is happening right before our eyes and spin it to fit the narrative of their agenda. We as individuals are not immune from this either. We have more and more of a tendency to fall in line with the truths that support our beliefs and our actions and attack or condemn those that don’t believe, or act like us. Just like during the time of Pilate, the Pharisees and Jesus Christ, the manipulation of the truth causes injustice, division, sews confusion and creates the desire to dominate and even destroy. What is truth?
For many, this question of “What is truth”, this relativism, makes it difficult to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and be drawn to him and to build relationship with him. The voice of the Good Shepherd is drowned out or muffled by all the distractions and calls for our attention found in our culture.
What can help us hear the voice of the Good Shepherd calling us and know the answer to the question, “What is truth?” Obviously, what we learn in Cursillo – Piety, Study and Action – are very helpful tools. Sometimes, we need to hear this from a bit of a different perspective.
Recently, I attended a One Bread One Cup youth liturgical leadership conference for high school youth and youth ministers held at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology at St. Meinrad, Indiana. It is kind of like a Cursillo for high school youth. Word, Sacrament and Mission is the theme of One Bread, One Cup. Focusing on the Word, Sacrament and Mission helps draw our attention to the truth and helps us hear the voice of the Good Shepherd.
The Word is the beginning with life in Christ, the Word made flesh. Being Christ-like or flesh made Word to others should be our goal in life. We do this by surrounding and immersing ourselves in the Good News of the Word through scripture, Mass, and liturgies, reading good Catholic literature, listening to good liturgical music, Lectio Divina, personal prayer and prayerful silence.
Sacraments help us experience the presence of our Savior Jesus Christ. We need to remember that through our Baptism God adopts us in Christ. In Baptism we die with Christ so that we may rise with him. The oil of Confirmation seals us in Christ and with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and completes our Baptism. Through the sacrament of Reconciliation, we are cleansed and made new by the power of God and his mercy and forgiveness. At each Mass, we experience Christ’s sacrificial meal through the Eucharist - His true presence. His body, blood, soul, and divinity - which nourishes us to strive to be Christ to others. Through the Word, sacraments, and Mass we place ourselves in the presence of Christ our Savior, get to know him and develop relationship with him. As with our personal relationships with others, our personal relationship with Christ, the Good Shepherd and the Word made flesh, allows us to more clearly hear his voice and listen to him. Listen to him as he calls us to himself and draws us to a life in Christ that allows us to know the truth. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
Through Baptism, we are anointed with Christ and given a mission to carry the good news to all. We are all called to the mission of being priest, prophet, and king. As priest, we are called to pray for others. As prophet we are called to share God’s Word with others in word and witness. As king, we are called to bring order to the Body of Christ, to help orient ourselves and others to lead a Christ-centered life rather than a life centered on the secular world. We are called to make disciples by living out our Baptism so that others can be baptized and live out their Baptism by leading a Christ-centered life. We are called to be flesh made Word to others.
By focusing on Word, Sacrament and Mission, we can better know the truth that lies in knowing Jesus Christ and developing relationship with Him. By developing relationship with Him, we can better hear his voice, the voice of the Good Shepherd, calling us to Him. Being able to better and more clearly hear his voice, we can better understand and love the Word made flesh so we can do a better job of being flesh made Word to all we meet.