The Truth Hurts
I grew up hearing the age-old cliché, “Honesty is the best policy,” and it almost always seemed like a good idea to me. I have a hard enough time remembering what actually happened, much less trying to remember all the imagined details of some intricate fabrication. But there is another old cliché that seems apropos at times: “The truth hurts.”
The Emperor’s Naked
In the children’s fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” people are so fearful of the truth that they begin to believe the lie that has been fabricated. When someone finally points out that the Emperor is actually naked, no one wants to listen.
There are times in our lives when we can fall victim to this type of denial. In fact, many people who call themselves ‘Catholic’ are just like the Emperor. They are wearing a fabrication. They believe they are Catholic, yet they openly oppose Church teachings with little or no true discernment. When they don’t agree with something, they simply say, “I am allowed to follow my conscience.”
A Conscience Decision
Simply “following” one’s conscience, however, is a bit different than developing an “informed conscience” that you can then follow. For example, in order to have an “informed conscience”, we must study all sides of the issue － and that should include fully exploring the reasoning behind the Church’s position. Once we have truly examined an issue, we must spend time in prayer and discernment, opening our hearts to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It’s an intentionally high bar because, once our conscience has been “informed”, we are allowed to follow it, even if it is in opposition to official Church teaching.
Unfortunately, most people never get that far. Jesus Christ instituted the Catholic Church, and the Holy Spirit is still actively working through the Church today. Because of this, the Church is able to teach God’s Truth. And when our “opinion” on an issue goes head-to-head with the Truth, we run the risk of creating and wearing a fabrication of our own design. In other words, we wind up like the Emperor － completely naked while believing we’re fully clothed.
The King and the Emperor
In today’s gospel reading, when asked if he is a king, Jesus says to Pilate, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”
How ironic that it is that very testimony which brought about his death. In a very real way, Jesus was crucified because he told the truth. People were so afraid of it － so afraid that they would have to change the way they lived their lives － that they would rather have a man put to death than have to face their own sins. They were happy with their lies. Or so they thought.
Happiness based upon fiction cannot last. Only God’s Truth can bring true happiness into our lives, but we can’t achieve it on our own. Luckily, we don’t have to.
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is a time for us to recall the fact that we are not in this alone. We have Jesus as our guide, our leader, and our king. He will stand beside us as we look in the mirror and confront our sins, and he will strengthen us as we reach out to each other in love.
With the help of Christ the King, we’ll be truly clothed and the truth won’t hurt.
Think of a time that you lied. Why did you do it? How did it turn out?
How hard is it to face the truth? Why?
What comes to mind when you hear the words, “Christ the King?”
Copyright 2009-2018 by Brandon Jubar
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