Feast of Christ the King 2021
Deacon Tom Vert
Preached: November 21, 2021
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
In other translations of the Bible, it says: Everyone who is on the side of truth hears my voice
So, if we belong to, or on the side of truth, then the truth is critical to us.
The next line in this gospel that we don’t read is Pilate responding to Jesus saying, “What is truth”?
And isn’t this the same question many of us are asking today in so many cases?
What is the truth? And where do we find it?
Recent surveys have said that only 46% of Canadians trust the news, and an even worse statistic is that in the USA this drops to 29%.
So, if most people do not trust what they are hearing, where do they find the truth?
Internet and social media are the major sources of news today and yet we know that the information is not accurate.
There is a great documentary on Netflix called “the Social Dilemna” in which people who helped design the internet and social media, confess that they manipulate your feed to show you only what you want to see and for you to never see another contrary view that may challenge your thinking.
They purposefully push you to sites that reinforce your opinion and create more and more tension with people on the other side of any issue.
So, what is the truth? How do we find it?
If Jesus is telling us that we are to belong to the truth and to be on the side of truth, then what is our responsibility as Christians?
If we truly want to “hear his voice” and “listen to his voice”, then our mandate to be people of the truth is a challenge that Christ is giving to us.
Pope John Paul II had a great quote for us “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth.”
God asks us to actively seek the truth using both our faith and reason (or human knowledge) to be amazed at this world He has created and to get closer to Him because of it.
So how do we do this?
Well in my own faith journey I had many questions! I came back to the faith after a few years away from the church when my children were born.
I had questions, and as an engineer I wanted the truth, the real answers and so I sought them out, to have an informed faith.
It started with the question: “was Jesus really the Son of God or was he just a good preacher or even a myth made up 2000 years ago.”
I went back to the sources, the first century documents and of course found the gospels, but maybe they were slanted towards Christianity, so I looked harder.
I found the writings of the great Jewish Historian Josephus which verified Christ’s existence and the following that he had that grown after his death into Christianity.
I also found the Quran from Muslim teachings showed Jesus as a great prophet.
Therefore, I had to conclude that a questioning faith and reason brought me close to God.
Then I researched the Eucharist, is it really Christ present in the bread and wine we receive. An again I thought, what did those who knew Jesus and followed him immediately say?
In the gospels, the letters of Paul to the Corinthians, the writings of St. Justin, St. Irenaeus, and an early teaching called the Didache, all written within 100 years of Christ’s death, confirm that the celebration of the Eucharist in a similar but simpler form was celebrated on Sundays.
I was in awe that what we do today is connected to the earliest Christians 2000 years ago with the same blessing over the bread and the cup.
This search for the truth teaches us to go to the source if we want to find the truth and to use our faith and reason that God gave us to ensure that we are not “knocked off the puck” by social media or other sources that are not the truth.
So how can we apply this into our daily lives?
Look no farther than the current discussion on whether we as Catholic Christians should get Covid vaccines.
If we go to the source of reason, we can find the smartest, brightest scientists in the world at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta that tell us the vaccine is a product of decades of research culminating in a true miracle of science to create something that would protect all of us.
If we to the source of our faith, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, Pope Francis and our own Bishop have all said we are to get vaccinated.
Pope Francis said this in August this year: “Thanks to God’s grace and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from Covid-19.
Pope Francis went on to say that getting a Covid shot that is “authorized by the respective authorities” is an “act of love. Helping others do the same, he said, is also an act of love. “Love for oneself, love for our families and friends, and love for all peoples.”
Truly a clear message for each and every one of us who “belong to the truth and want to hear his voice”.
Similarly, we can ask what the truth is about climate change and our role in it.
Again, we can look to our reason and faith. We look to reason, in documents written by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…195 world renowned scientist including Canadians who review hundreds of published documents to give us the latest updates and forecasts on how climate change has happened and how it will affect our world going forward.
We can use our reason in watching what is happening in British Columbia this past year – the hottest temperatures on record, the third highest amount of forest fires and now flooding and mudslides that are cutting off the coast from the rest of Canada.
What does our faith tell us? Pope Francis wrote an amazing document in 2015 talking about how we treat “our common home” and said: “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.”
“The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world.”
He goes on to say: “There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations.”
What a great message as we seek to live our lives listening to God’s voice to take care of our planet!
The search for the truth as Catholic Christians is our duty, our yoke to bear and our mission to lead.
So, I would invite you this week to ask yourself two key questions:
Do I really want to hear His voice?
And if so, am I on the side of truth?