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Michael J. O’LoughlinDecember 15, 2021
Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

A Reflection for the Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent


“Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven” (Ps 85:11-12).

Finding the truth can be challenging—but it is a necessary component in the fight for justice and peace.

As a journalist, seeking the truth can be as simple as confirming that events took place as described and that people said what I am reporting they said. Who? What? When? Where? Why? And how? If I can answer those questions, the truth will emerge.

Seeking truth takes patience and tenacity. It requires the willingness to listen deeply to stories, to ask pointed and sometimes uncomfortable follow-up questions.

But it is really never that easy. Not for me as a reporter and certainly not for anyone else.

Seeking truth takes patience and tenacity. It requires the willingness to listen deeply to stories, to ask pointed and sometimes uncomfortable follow-up questions. To devote time to exploring other viewpoints, engaging with individuals who hold different perspectives. Often, all we can do is compile the facts as best we can and then use them to make an assessment about what most closely seems to point to the truth.

The process of discerning truth today is made more difficult by people who peddle lies and half-truths to advance ideological agendas. By companies that spend fortunes to get us to buy products that, truthfully, we do not need. By politicians and even religious leaders who benefit from concealing facts because the truth would be painful and damaging.

Imagine truth springing forth from the earth, clear and abundant, cooling and sustaining. The kind of truth that helps usher in justice and mercy.

Which is what makes this verse from Isaiah so compelling.

Imagine truth springing forth from the earth, clear and abundant, cooling and sustaining. The kind of truth that helps usher in justice and mercy. Truth that we know to be true no matter what others tell us.

That is the truth we celebrate at Christmas, truth that isn’t always easy but which is ultimately liberating. It may not always be as apparent as the prophet describes, but the search for it is always worthwhile.

Get to know Michael O’Loughlin, National Correspondent


1. Favorite Christmas Hymn:

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

2. Favorite Christmas Tradition

The raucous Yankee Swap with my extended family, ideally in a giant old house where we’re all spending the night.

3. Favorite Christmas Recipe

Generally, I stick to dry vodka martinis at Christmas parties, but I’ll throw in a few cranberries for a festive holiday garnish.

4. Favorite Podcast You Produced This Year

My visit to the Friends of Dorothy Catholic Worker House, because I met two Catholics living out their faith in radical ways: “How the Catholic Worker Movement inspired one couple to open their doors to people with AIDS.”

5. Favorite Christmas Photo

My sisters and I visiting Santa when we were kids.

O'Loughlin Christmas

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