Daily Readings Reflection for 4/13/11

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Scripture: Lectionary 254. Daniel 3:14-20. 91-92.95.  Resp. Daniel
3:52-56. John 8:31-42

Wednesday’s Readings

Did you know that the often cited expression, “the Truth shall set you
free” comes from the great Gospel of St.John the Evangelist?  It is well
known as an expression, but many of it just take it for a “truism.”  That
is far from the contextual and theological meaning that Jesus intends in
this passage.  And John confirms the authentic meaning of it as he
continues his own narrative about Jesus and who he is and how he speaks and
heals.

In our culture we look on truth as confirmation of a facts, ideas,
abstractions or even correct interpretation of documents.  Since we are a
litgiousness society this word is often used in a way far from the actual
Gospel meaning of it and its meaning in the Old Testament.  Indeed, the
word for truth in the Hebrew Bible is “emeth” and it connotes a deep
foundation in reality–God’s creative world and universe and everything
that is in it. Nature, spiritual beings like angels and humankind is part
of the reality of “emeth.”  Our evangelist John is considered to be the
theologian par excellence among the four evangelists. He is giving us the
passage in which Jesus makes this statement, and “the truth will set you
free.” The context for John is always the centering on the person of Jesus
who has more identity names than the other Gospels.  When Jesus says “I AM”
he is speaking about his being the Truth. The word “Amen” is derived from
the word that connotes “truth” in the language Jesus used in the synagogue
and Temple. “Emunah” is the action word for truth and Jesus does more than
personify it. He is Truth.  His teachings, his preaching, his works of
curing and raising someone from the dead are part of his nature as the
Truth.  As Fr. Prvost tells us, “In the Bible truth never refers to an
abstraction, to truth as an idea, but always to the concrete soldity of
things, to the trustworthiness of the word given, and to the reliability of
persons.”

The Old Testament makes use of “emeth” or truth some 330 times and we pray
each day with our Amen to most of the prayers we hear or use.  It is John,
however, who gives us the Person of Jesus as the living Truth of God,
because he came from God and was sent from God to us.

Jesus is speaking the truth to us each time we open the Gospels or listen
to the reading of the Gospel at the Mass.  In St. John’s Gospel Jesus is
both the foundation and reality of truth as a human being who has pitched
his tent among us as the first Apostle sent from God.  We may wish to set
aside some moments this day to reread the Prologue of John (John 1:1-18)
which ends with the word TRUTH.  Uniting the last verse to the greatest of
Incarnational texts we have : “And the Word (Truth) was made flesh and
dwelt among us ( and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten Son of the
Father), full of grace and TRUTH.” ( John 1:14 and 18).  Amen! (Truth, you
better believe it!) Amen.

P.S. On the Humanities Building at the University of Dayton the great
medieval wisdom teacher of the Jewish people, Maimonides, has this citation
beneath his sculpted image: Shema’ ha emeth mimei she-amru: ” Listen to the
truth from whomsoever speaks it.”

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