HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT (B)

Fr James Murphy



"People who live by the truth come out into the light so that it may be plainly seen that what they do is done in God."


These words of Jesus from St. John's gospel identify God with light and truth.


Both light and truth are needed for life to continue on earth. Without light we can see nothing. It is also scientifically proven that nothing can grow without sufficient light.


Similarly, human beings cannot survive unless a substantial part of life is based on the truth. Without the truth there can be no meaningful or lasting relationships, there can be no trust between people, there can be no honest business dealings and there can be no lasting freedom. "The truth will set you free", Jesus told us. In short, people cannot live in any meaningful way without being truthful to each other. Apart from religious grounds at all, a continual search for the truth can only make all our lives better off. It is in all our interests that the truth comes out into the light, so that we may all see the results of it in daily life and benefit from it.


Sometimes the truth is difficult to accept, because it may not always take the line of least resistance. It almost always requires us to take account of the common good, rather than individual benefit to ourselves, and it also requires us to reflect on the deeper realities of life rather than glancing at the surface. The truth asks us to consider long term effects as well as short term gain.


What should motivate us to search for the truth is our love for one another. When we really love others we want them to have the highest quality of life possible. This means among other things being truthful and honest with them.


Both the second reading and the gospel today tell us that God loves us. He loves us so much that He sent His son Jesus Christ among us to lead us and guide us in our search for the truth. God our Father expects us to follow the teaching of Jesus which we find in the pages of the gospels. If our lives reflect the teaching of Christ it will be based on the truth: it will take the good of others as well as our own into consideration.


At his trial Jesus told Pilate "all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice". Let us pray today that we will always listen to the voice of Jesus who preached the truth, and that we will do so even when this may be difficult for us.


Today is mother's day. While we should constantly acknowledge the love and concern our mothers have for us, and always appreciate the huge contribution they make to our homes, it is not inappropriate to highlight this in a special way on a particular day every year. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable contribution that mothers make to the life of the Church but which is seldom highlighted. Our mothers were the first people to teach us about God. They brought us into the church for the first time, when we were baptized. They taught us how to bless ourselves, and how to say our prayers, and they constantly remind us of our faith. Abraham Lincoln wrote: “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”


And so today I wish to thank and compliment mothers for all their love and dedication and especially for their significant contribution to the life of the Church which is vital for its survival.

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