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Michael J. O’LoughlinNovember 10, 2022
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A Reflection for Friday of the Thirty-second week in Ordinary Time

Find today’s readings here.

Therefore, we ought to support such persons,
so that we may be co-workers in the truth. (3 Jn 8)

Perhaps it’s because we’re just a few days off the midterm elections, and perhaps a few days out from the start of the 2024 presidential campaign, but as I scanned the readings for today, my eyes stopped at the phrase “co-workers in the truth.”

Deciding what is true isn’t always easy, especially when many people and organizations and companies seeking power and wealth try to convince us to believe what is not true. If you happen to live in an area that held competitive political contests this week, how many ads did you see that spun reality to fit certain political narratives? With the holiday shopping season now in full force, have you encountered more ads suggesting that owning certain items will make you happier? In both cases, are they true? How are we to know?

I consulted the Catechism of the Catholic Church for insight about truth.

I take comfort in reading that even the earliest Christians needed prayer and support in their quest to know and to live the truth.

Human beings, the Catechism states, are naturally oriented toward the truth, and we are obliged to honor and bear witness to the truth. Truthfulness is a virtue, one that applies to our public and private lives.

But that’s often easier said than done. Why is truth so difficult to ascertain? And then once we believe we’ve come to an understanding about what is true, why can it feel daunting to defend it? If we aren’t truthful in our private lives, it is very unlikely that we will live the truth publicly.

Rather than despair at this reality, that the value of truth in our society is slipping, I take comfort in reading that even the earliest Christians needed prayer and support in their quest to know and to live the truth. Buying into lies can be tempting, but ultimately, it is unfulfilling. We may have different challenges today in our quest seeking the truth, but the task itself is ancient. It nonetheless remains imperative for those striving to live a Christian life, one in service to God and our neighbors. But attempting to understand the truth and then apply to our lives is essential. As Jesus promises, “the truth will set you free.”

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