A particularly poignant moment in the Passion of the Lord that we read on Good Friday is the interaction between Jesus and Pontius Pilate. Jesus tells Pilate, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate responds by asking, “What is truth?” It’s incredible, because Pilate didn’t recognize Truth when it was standing right in front of him. But how many people in our own world don’t know what truth is? And like Pilate, the reason we don’t know truth is because we don’t know who Jesus really is.
Recently on St. Joseph’s Workshop, Father Matthew Spencer discussed a talk that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia gave, in which he identified three specific questions that Americans really struggle with: What is love? What is truth? And who is Jesus Christ?
“I have to agree with Archbishop Chaput that, in fact, our world is troubled to try and figure out what is love, truth, and our Savior Jesus Christ,” Fr. Matthew said. “And he points out that the world will provide answers that seem to explain these things. So love is a feeling. Love is that sense that you have when you know you want to be in a relationship with somebody. Love you can redefine however you want. And truth? Well, that is only what you can observe, right? This is what the world might say.”
In his talk, Archbishop Chaput pointed out that the world tries to provide easy answers to these questions that confound us. But the easy answers are often an attempt to explain them away, or explain them in simplistic terms. And they never really answer the actual question, they never lead to authentic happiness, and they never satisfy the human heart.
“To me, this is why I love being Catholic,” Fr. Matthew said. “The answers are not always easy. But they’re always satisfying. The answers are not always simple to how the world works and how we’re called to respond.”
“Jesus founded His Church and assured that the gates of hell will not prevail against it,” he continued. “He also ensured that the answers that the Church will provide will be true, and will be satisfying because that’s what our hearts desire. They desire truth, and goodness, and beauty.”
Fr. Matthew pointed out that those who know Jesus can and should have an impact on how the world sees love, truth, and Jesus, because a relationship with the Lord is transformative. He said, “The way we understand truth should have an impact on how we’re living in the world. And when we realize truth is not just what I can measure objectively based on scientific instruments, but is actually Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life then that’s going to have an impact on how I live my life.”
“If I’m living close to Jesus, if I’m living in a relationship with Him, that has an impact on the world,” he explained. “And let’s face it, this is what our Catholic faith is about. It’s not just an intellectual exercise. It’s not just about a metaphysical framework of understanding the world. It’s about being transformed by that love, truth, and Jesus Himself. It’s about being transformed by our Savior by that relationship that we have with Him.”
So if you struggle with the concept of knowing love, knowing truth, and knowing who Jesus is, turn to the Lord today and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. As Fr. Matthew concluded, “The only satisfying answer, the only thing that will satisfy our hearts is getting to know Jesus, getting to know His plan for us, and really following Him the way He desires. Which means to live in the truth and to live with Jesus Himself.”
Listen to the full reflection below: