Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Reading 1 Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95
Gospel Jn 8:31-42
Jesus 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." They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, 'You will become free'?" Jesus answered them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
'Truth' is being assailed today as I've never seen before: accusations of 'fake news', presentation of 'alternate facts', deflections, cover ups, and of course blatant lies emanate from those that occupy the halls of power. It can all be summed up in Pilate's words: 'truth', what is that?
Yet today's Gospel tells us that truth is not a 'that', it is a person: Jesus Christ. The Pharisees and scribes have been hostile in opposition to the truth (nothing really changes does it?), hiding behind the letter of the law while decimating its spirit, claiming bloodline with Abraham yet denying Abraham's hope and in their self delusion and deception remain "a slave to sin".
Truth is freedom: "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", but it comes with a price, a cost, a cross. Jesus will pay the ultimate price in being the liberating truth.
In the first reading from Daniel, a white hot furnace awaited Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego for standing up for their faith before the powerful Babylonian king. Three cast into the fire yet four seen in it and they were saved. The Truth set them free!
As we draw closer to Holy Week let us try even harder to seek the truth despite what it may reveal about ourselves. The words of Ash Wednesday "repent and believe in the Gospel" is a call to seek the Truth and freedom.
The Season of Lent is a special time for us to slow down, look inward and make the necessary changes to truly become an Easter people.