This weekend we are offered the last part of Jesus’ speech on the Bread of Life. This section of our journey and meditation was just suspended this past Sunday with the celebration of the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today we are back; not just with the continuation of the speech but with a discovery of the relationship between love and truth.
The great mystery of Christ’s relationship with the Church has love for its foundation. And of that love Saint Paul sings in his first letter to the Corinthians, saying: “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a).
But love has another corollary that is truth. Christ always displayed them together during his earthly ministry with his disciple. Today we see openly his refusal to compromise, because He cannot hide the truth from love. Unfortunately, this did not meet his listeners’ expectation. They wanted love but not truth. The result is that His saying was hard, and nobody, in their understanding could accept it. Christ fulfills his prophetic mission with fortitude and no duplicity. For Him there is no half-way. Either we are with Him or we are not (Mark 9: 40).
The Church and all of her children share in that prophetic mission of Christ. With love we are called to stand for the truth: to tell the truth and to defend it…, with love. Unfortunately, in today’s world, like in the time of Jesus, we do just want love but not truth. In the Church, in our family, at our works or in our different ministries, we want to hear what we want. We want the Word of God to accommodate our feelings and our ways of life. The consequence of all this is that we are moving from one church to another, not mainly because we are looking for nourishment with the Word of God but in search for the place where the Word of God is offered under cover, where it loses its boldness. Christ wants bold Christians and disciples, not lukewarm followers and listeners. The question He puts towards His disciples is a proof of this boldness: “Do you also want to leave?” Christ always unites love and truth. In Him they are not separated, because He is Himself the Truth and Love that never fail.
Today, more than ever, the Church needs her prophetic identity and mission that is shown in the boldness of her message that is nothing else but Christ Himself. We, the children of the Mother Church and followers of Christ, are meant to embrace with fortitude the boldness of our prophetic identity that we share with Christ from our baptism. We are meant to combine love and truth in our message and our lives and challenge today’s culture of relativism according to which, “If it is good for you, then it is good with me.” Christ should always be the measure of our actions and words. Only in doing so that the boldness of our life will be an embrace of love and truth that will set us free (John 8:32).
And let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family.