“Pilate said to Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).
In the so called postmodern world that we currently find ourselves in, this question is haunting. The contention of objective vs. subjective truth might be one the greatest issues that plagues our society, as it continues to distort and deform the hearts and minds of countless souls, especially our youth. This might sound crazy but at least Pilate asked the question! Popular culture has evidently become so intellectually ‘wise’ that we have now grown up to believe that we are beyond even asking this question. As a society, we no longer seek objective truth; rather, it has become relative to each individual. To make matters worse, if the beliefs and actions of individuals are challenged, then that person immediately becomes labeled as old-fashioned, non-tolerant and an uncompassionate bigot. Truly we live in a “dictatorship of relativism” as Pope Benedict XVI pointed out.
The problem is truth and freedom are profoundly interrelated. Deeply concerned and determined to restore our freedom Christ explained, “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).
Like many modern Americans, the Jews just simply failed to understand. “We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, ‘You will be made free’” (John 8:33)?
A world devoid of absolute truth is a world filled with confusion and chaos. It shouldn’t be surprising that when we remove Christianity from our culture, things become more and more disoriented, tangled, disturbing and perplexing. This untruth and deformation taking place leads individuals to claiming a kind of pseudo freedom where they develop their own truth. In a sense, we have once again eaten the forbidden fruit, buying the enchanting lie of the subtle serpent that “when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). The sober reality is, when we disobey God, our vision becomes distorted and blurry, leading to an identity less like the God of freedom and more like the evil one eternally chained. We no longer know anything as objective. Truth? What is truth? Lost in the cosmos, without real purpose and direction, we hide from God and cling to the slavery of our bondage.
Thanks be to God, he always comes seeking us out of this condition of depravity to dispel the darkness. Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Truth and light are united in Christ. Recalling the goal of our journey, we seek to walk out of the Purgative state and into the Illuminative state of the spiritual life, from darkness into great light. Freed from the vices that cloud our vision, God can reveal his mysteries and illuminate the mind and heart with truth and light.
“The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (John 1:9-14).
Jesus Christ has come to illuminate the condition you find yourself in. The darker the night, the brighter the light will shine. Let us clear up the clouds that distort our vision and prepare a way for the light of the Lord. As our hearts are purified, our eyes will be opened and we will surely see God (see Matthew 5:8).
“In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man's relationship with God will be laid bare. The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life” (CCC 1039). As the way, the truth and the life, Jesus Christ prevails as the only way to authentic freedom.