6th Sunday of Easter (A) 2017

‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments (my word, my teaching). And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate (Councillor, Paraclete) to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.’ If you look for just one guiding influence in the life of Jesus of Nazareth it would be his adherence to what he believed to be the truth. The Bible is full of warnings against deceitfulness and lying. ‘Proclaim the greatness of our God! A faithful God, without deceit, how just and upright he is.’ ‘Keep your tongue from evil, your lips from speaking lies.’ ‘Bread gained by deceit is sweet, but afterward the mouth will be full of gravel.’ ‘Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him. 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.’ ‘God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.’ When I lie I spew the Spirit of God from my mouth together with my lying words. It is disgusting to listen to many of our so called leaders; political, civil and industrial, especially in recent years. We are fed on a diet of deceit and barefaced lies. Innocuously it is called spin but is deceit and lying and meant to cause confusion and misinform. When someone is brave enough to speak truth they are showered with ridicule and abuse. The world does not know, or want to know, Jesus of Nazareth, because they no longer want truth or to hear the truth. ‘And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.’ I cannot do much about the lying and deceitful ways of many of the leading figures of our various institutions but all of us can create an oasis of truthfulness around ourselves. This is lighting the lamp and placing it on the lamp-stand, ‘where it gives light to all in the house.’ Those who are honest with themselves will recognise the light of truth and will be affected by it. Our Pope Francis is a light on a lamp stand enlightening not only the Church but the whole world. Strangely enough the greatest opposition to the light he brings comes from within the Catholic Church itself. When we have something to hide we do not like the light. When our status and privileges are threatened we do not like the changes that truth may bring. The prince of darkness has many servants. Some willingly so, many not even aware of their slavery. ‘Jesus said I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ For Jesus of Nazareth light, truth and fulness of life are one and indivisible.