The Truth that Makes Us Free: Weekly Message for 07-13-2022

Dear Friends in Christ,

Jesus then said… “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).

 Last month we began with “Little Gidding,” the 20th century’s greatest poem; this month we’ll begin with what may be the 20th century’s greatest novel: Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.

Towards the end of the novel, Julia Marchmain’s brother has just (rather clumsily) reminded her of her sinful relationship with Charles Ryder. Charles, surprised by Julia’s tearful reaction, tries to ameliorate the indictment: “How dare he speak to you like that?” And Julia bursts out “No, it’s not that. He’s quite right… . All in one word, too, one little, flat, deadly word … Sin.” The truth: painful, explosive, heart-rending, sets us free.

Jesus reminds us at the Last Supper: “And when he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convince the world of sin and of righteousness …” (John 16:8). This, too, is part of the good news. We do not like the conviction, but unless the Holy Spirit brings it to light our sin cannot be forgiven. Unless I am aware that I have rejected God, how can that rejection be healed? Unless I acknowledge my selfishness, how can I be made free?

“You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Of course, sin is not at the heart of truth: God’s undying love is at the heart of all truth.

And yet love – both gentle and unyielding – will not rest until the beloved is fully free.

In Christ,

Fr. John Pietropaoli, LC

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  1. Fr. John, thank you for highlighting for us these treasures!, and for offering your rich insights and personal reflections. I recall Joseph Pierce being asked, “Why study the humanities?”…. to which he answered…”so that we become more human.” These contributions of yours are certainly helping us grow, and become more human!

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