Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word.
I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.” They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does.”
They said to him, “We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus said that, if you are truly his disciple, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. This week’s Time Magazine cover used bold red letters to ask IS TRUTH DEAD? My Facebook feed has provided me with a striking photo of Flannery O’Connor with her statement that “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
Our effort to determine truth and act accordingly is an enduring struggle. We navigate between the cynicism of believing that everything is a charade and the lure of superficial certainty. I believe that Jesus invites us into inquiry.
What do we believe to be true and why? How might we be protecting ourselves from uncomfortable truths? The way that truth sets us free is that it removes false comfort while at the same time allowing us to see possibility and hope.
—Bren Ortega Murphy, PhD is a faculty member in Communications Studies at Loyola University Chicago. She holds a joint appointment in Loyola’s Women’s Studies program.
Holy God, help us to walk more surely in your ways.
May we grow in hope and become more faith-filled in your service.