Learn by Topic: Lies

Matthew 231322

Modern Men are Confused about Truth

Today, many deny that “truth” exists.  Pluralism argues that all “truths” are equally valid, while relativism argues that no “truth” is valid.  Ironically, and satanically, secular activists deny that “truth” exists while militantly manipulating government to enforce their own “truth” (relativism/pluralism).  The denial of knowable absolute truth is simply a modern version of Satan’s deception in Eden.

It is confusion about “truth” that has led modern society into darkness.  The rejection of truth has resulted in the collapse of marriage and families, the attempts to pervert marriage, the slaughter of millions of children through legalized abortion, the mainlining of sexual perversion and adultery, growing acceptance of euthanasia and the rejection of Christ by millions.  The lack of clear catechesis in Truth and aggressive secular tactics has intimidated the faithful into silence in the public square.

Jesus Christ is Truth

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Here is Father John Gallas’ homily given at CatholicManNight on January 13, 2011:

The topic for this evening is Jesus Christ, Defender of Truth. The emphasis Christ places on the importance of truth is clear from scripture: He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Not I have the truth, but I am it. Tonight: Why knowing the truth is a vital necessity and why it is worth fighting for.

When we are created, the mind is a blank slate. We do not come forth from our mothers thinking about mathematics or even about God. Truth has to enter the mind through learning.

If we say, what is truth? Very simply, it is a correspondence between what is in the mind, and reality. If my ideas correspond to what is really out there, then I know the truth. I am in touch with reality. And this affects our whole lives, for what we think determines what we feel and what we do. What enters the mind expresses itself in our behavior. For example, watch the stands at a football game. When there is an opening on the right, and everyone sees this and is thinking, “Run to the right!” everyone in the stands will lean to that side. What is in the mind works itself out in behavior and in life in general.

What if truth is not what we have in our mind? In that case, we either have ignorance or error. Ignorance is a blind spot. It is not necessarily a bad thing. Most of us here are probably ignorant of how to perform an appendectomy, but we do not require that knowledge, so its not a problem. If we are ignorant of something necessary – like how to be a good father, who is God, how to obtain eternal happiness – then our blind spot is a problem.

Error is when not truth but falsehood enters the mind. Just last night some students from Loretto posted a video on facebook in which a man affirms, with much eloquence and charm, that Jesus is anti-religion. It is a tired old argument based on many false premises and a selective reading of scripture. Christ isn’t anti-religion: He founded the Catholic religion. As Our Lord said, “If the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” Mt 6:23 Error is like a poison for the mind. It puts us out of touch with reality, sometimes with devastating consequences.

When I am in ignorance or error, what is in my mind will work itself out in my life, and unfortunately that is exactly what is happening in our society. We are walking through life out of step with truth, out of touch with reality, every bit as much as the person with a mental disorder, except that now, it is fashionable to be in ignorance or to subscribe to popular errors.  If you are ignorant of who God is, many will respond with an error, saying, you’re a good person, you’ll be alright. Not so! It’s because we’re not good people that we need God! If we assert the error that religion is for weak-minded people, many in our culture will respond not with the medicine of truth but with the poison of affirming us in our darkness. Being a defender of the truth is to say, this is not an acceptable situation. Truth is the health of the mind. Some truths are worth dying for. Jesus is the truth.

Today, truth is under attack, and I would like to highlight three particular attacks on truth that I believe we are witness.

First, the peer pressure attack, by which I mean something very particular. You strive to be a good man, you love God, but then people you love start to go astray. Your child decides to move in with their fiance before the wedding, or you have a child or a brother or a friend who says, I am not heterosexual, and you are subtly pressured to give approval. What happens? In many instances, Catholic parents cave in. And we become like Adam in the garden: I know God said this is wrong, but Eve did it! I have to stick with Eve! Not so! Eve made a mistake.

On the natural level, God gives you a greater love for your children than for anyone else. Yet love that is not in accord with truth is not love. The spiritual medicine is to bestow the truth in love. How different would the world be today had Adam behaved manfully, and said, Eve, you are wrong, I will not follow you down that path, but I will still love you. Serpent – the influences of evil – I’m going to kill you. You’re gone. The medicine for the peer pressure attack is to eliminate the evil influences and the lies to the full extent of our power, to mend and love the fallen, without giving approval to evil actions, and it takes a lot of patience and a lot of courage. But it’s you and Jesus together.

Second, for lack of a better term, truth is being attacked by the hubris of superficial knowledge. I’m talking about the person who read an article in a medical magazine and now they know how to diagnose. The person who met an angry priest once so now they know the truth about Christianity. The person who heard a bible passage that mentions violence, so now they know what the bible is all about. Unfortunately, this is precisely the kind of Catholics we are producing and educating. With only 30% of Catholics practicing their faith, something has gone dreadfully wrong. Successfully handing on the faith intact from one generation to the next is like moving the football downfield toward the endzone, passing it from the hands of one player to the next. We might say Catholic youth formation today, with some noteworthy exceptions, has the effectiveness of the Minnesota Vikings offense: We aren’t moving the ball, in many cases.

As a consequence, many today receive in their Catholic formation or Wednesday night religion only a fragmentary image of who Christ really is, and then they examine this image and they can see that it has nothing to offer, they don’t realize that it is superficial, and so they move on. They’ll say, “Oh yes I love the Church, but I disagree with the Church on this or that.” But how can you disagree with what you do not understand? For example, I have met many people who say they disagree with the Church’s teaching on purgatory. But when I ask, what is that teaching, exactly? How does the Church see the roots of this essential doctrine in the Old Testament, in the nature of God’s gradual process of the sanctification of man, in the damaging consequences of sin which must be repaired before entrance into paradise – they fall silent. The medicine for this attack is knowledge. We’ve got to pursue ongoing education in knowledge of the faith, taking classes, reading books, listening to cd’s, even keeping the Penny Catechism at the dinner table and reading just one line each night — so that we can speak with intelligence against the weak attacks given by those with only fragmentary knowledge of Christ. Even the weakest attack will be successful if it comes against a defenseless village.

And finally, I would be remiss if I did not also point out the temptation to use truth as a blunt weapon for hitting people over the head. To tolerate lies is a failing, but so too is that proclamation of the Gospel which pays no heed to finding the right time and place, and remembering charity, tact and joy.

This evening, in the presence of Christ our Lord, let us examine our relationship with truth. Do we adhere with religious submission of intellect and will to the teachings of Christ, as given by the Church? Do we exercise courage as well as tact in taking a stand against the many attacks against truth in our families and in our society? Do we seek to have a thorough knowledge of Christ in both prayer and reading, so that we may better be prepared to defend the truth? May Our Lady of Fatima watch over each of us and our families.

Modern Men are Confused about Truth

Today, many deny that “truth” exists.  Pluralism argues that all “truths” are equally valid, while relativism argues that no “truth” is valid.  Ironically, and satanically, secular activists deny that “truth” exists while militantly manipulating government to enforce their own “truth” (relativism/pluralism).  The denial of knowable absolute truth is simply a modern version of Satan’s deception in Eden.

It is confusion about “truth” that has led modern society into darkness.  The rejection of truth has resulted in the collapse of marriage and families, the attempts to pervert marriage, the slaughter of millions of children through legalized abortion, the mainlining of sexual perversion and adultery, growing acceptance of euthanasia and the rejection of Christ by millions.  The lack of clear catechesis in Truth and aggressive secular tactics has intimidated the faithful into silence in the public square.

Jesus Christ is Truth

The Gospels proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Truth (John 14:6; CCC 217) and that He was born to “bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37).  In contrast to the Light of Christ, Jesus identifies Satan to be a liar and the “father of lies” (John 8:44).   Only in Jesus have “mercy and truth…met each other”  (Psalm 84:11).  Only in Jesus do Truth, Judgment and Justice reside (Isa 45:19).

Through the Natural Law man can, through reason, know what is true and good and what is a lie and evil (CCC 1954).  But only in Jesus Christ can man fully “know the truth…[that makes them] free” (John 8:32).  Only Jesus promises to send “the Spirit of truth” to guide men to all truth (John 16:13).

The Strategic and Tactical Attacks on Truth

Jesus was attacked by Satan, religious Jews (Sanhedrin, Pharisees) and by secular political forces (Herodians, Romans).  Strategically, the attacks focused on Jesus’ Identity/Authority (Jesus is not God, a carpenter nobody) and on Jesus’ Doctrines (teachings on Sabbath, table fellowship, marriage, etc.).

The tactics of attack included direct confrontation/debate, public harassment/intimidation, character assassination (Jesus is morally corrupt: a blasphemer, associates with sinners, a glutton, crazy, dangerous), subversive attacks (plots, schemes, infiltration), political manipulation (Jews ally with Romans) and ultimately, deadly coercion (The Passion).  Today, these the same tactics are used against Jesus and His Church by those who deny Truth.

Jesus Christ – Defender of Truth – The Divine Apologist

Jesus Christ successfully defends Truth and gives a model for modern apologists.  Jesus:

Irrefutably demonstrates His Divine Identity and Authority – Jesus alone defeats Satan in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-11), by repeatedly casting out demons (cf. Matt 8:28-34) and by using the Satan-inspired evil of Judas (Luke 22:3) for the Glory of the Cross and Resurrection (CCC 2853).  He performs miracles (healing, power over nature and death), offers divinely inspired teaching (parables, sermons, use of scripture), shows omniscience (able to read minds, prophesize) and rises from the dead with a miraculous glorious eternal body.  He leaves the full Truth in His Church and the Gospels.

Exposes and demolishes false doctrines in public debate using scripture and logic Jesus publically rebukes religious authorities with direct winning logical arguments across a wide variety of doctrines (cf. Mark 10:2, 12:28; Luke 11:15, 14:1, 20:20, 20:32).

Publically speaks Truth to corrupt power – Jesus stands for Truth against the Jewish elites and corrupt economic powers.   Jesus confronts the merchants and moneychangers and single-handedly clears the massive (35 acres) temple area (John 2:2:18).  Repeatedly, He confronts the Pharisees and the Sadducees and provocatively corrects their falsehoods and rebukes them.

Is not deterred by anger, threats and intimidation – On many occasions, His enemies persecute and attempt and plan to kill Him (Luke 4:29, 11:53-54, 13:31, 19:47; John 5:16, 8:59, 11:53).  Christ does not falter when questioned by Pilate, knowing that Pilate could spare Him (Matt 27:1-26).  In all cases, Jesus never is intimidated or deterred from presenting the Truth.

Speaks the Truth bluntly when necessary – He tells Peter “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matt 16:23).  He bluntly rebukes Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50).  He calls the Pharisees “guilty” (John 9:41).  Jesus pronounces the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit by the teachers of the law (Matt 12:22-32).   He pronounces woe on the Pharisees and the experts of the law for their hypocrisy (Luke 11:47-54).

Acknowledges that many refuse the Truth – He says that the lost “have ears but can not hear” (Matt 13:13).  To Pilate, Jesus says,  “everyone who is of the truth hears My voice”, to which Pilate replies, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38).

Picks His battles – Jesus knows when to defend (numerous direct debates with Jewish leaders) and when to withdraw when it does not serve His purposes to be captured (Matt 12:15, Luke 4:30, John 6:15).  Jesus chooses not to do direct miracles for the wicked (Matt 16:4).

Is not deterred by the weakness and confusion of disciples –Proclaims the truth even when His family thinks that He is crazy (Mark 3:21), when the disciples turn away (John 6:66), and when close disciples become confused  (Luke 9:41, 9:55, Matt 26:69-75).

Makes the Truth personal – In addition to public sermons, Jesus teaches the truth directly in a personal way (cf. Woman at the well – John 4; Nicodemus – John 3).

Breaks false cultural/religious rules– Jesus picks grain on the Sabbath (Matt 12:2), heals on the Sabbath (Luke 14:1-6), eats with sinners (Luke 7:33-34) and touches the impure (Matt 8:3, 9:20, 25).

Takes aggressive action to promote Truth – Jesus physically clears the Temple (John 2:2:18), provocatively enters Jerusalem as a king (Mark 11:1-11), and suffers the Passion to proclaim Truth.

Prays that the Apostles be committed to Truth – At the Last Supper, Jesus ends His vocal prayer with the Father by proclaiming that Apostles “know the truth” and prays that they may be “sanctified” and “consecrated” in truth (John 17:17,19).  The Church proclaims that all men come to be saved and know the Truth who is Jesus Christ (CCC 74) through the Holy Spirit (CCC 91).

Leaves His lasting legacy of Truth in His Church – The Truth of Jesus Christ is preserved by the Catholic Church through the oral Tradition and the written Gospels (CCC 126).  The Church proclaims the Truth of Jesus Christ through preserving, interpreting and promulgating the Sacred Scripture without error (CCC 107).  The Church is “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (CCC 171).

Men seek heroes

God has created men by nature and vocation with a natural desire for Himself (CCC 44) and men can only find happiness in God (CCC 27).  But men become lost as they seek God due to ignorance and sin (CCC 397).  Realizing real dangers in the world and the God-implanted understanding of the need for salvation, men aspire to heroic deeds and seek courageous heroes to protect and lead them through the challenges of life.  The desire and need for true heroes is perennial in the hearts of men across time and cultures.

From an early age, boys naturally seek heroes.  They look up to their fathers, older boys and other men as role models and as defenders/protectors.  Boys are intrigued by the heroic deeds of fictional characters (e.g. Superheroes in movies, TV and books, videogame heroes, sports heroes, etc.).  Boys admire and seek those with heroic virtues.

When grown, men continue to seek heroes.  Some continue on with the fictional heroes of youth, trading comic books for the action/superheroes and celebrities in the media.  Most men also look up to heroes in real life.  Many follow and celebrate sports teams and athletes.  Others admire and follow politicians, social activists or business leaders.  Still others look up to and follow real life heroes in the military (e.g. medal of honor winners), religion (e.g. saints) and people who perform extraordinary deeds in the face of tough challenges (e.g. 911 responders, those who battle life-challenging illnesses, etc.).   All men, in some way, desire to be heroes and to associate themselves with heroic leaders.

Men fall for false heroes

Many men are confused about the definition and true nature of heroism.  Heroism is confused with celebrity.  Heroism is confused with self-serving athleticism, political opportunists, charlatans who deceive, “anti-heroes” or outright scoundrels.   The meaning of the word “hero” has been dumbed down to the point of being almost meaningless.   Doing an Internet search for websites, news articles or images provides ample evidence of the misuse of the word “hero”.  Heroism is associated with movie stardom, video games (e.g. Guitar Hero), relatively routine athletic accomplishments and even a sandwich.  Sadly, many of the real life men who masquerade as heroes, fail, and fail spectacularly.

The Definition of “Hero”

The word “hero” comes from the Latin, hero, meaning, “defender, protector” and “to save, deliver, preserve, protect.”  Closely related is the word, “Savior” which comes from the Latin, salvatorem, meaning “one who delivers or rescues from peril” or “heals.”  Modern definitions of the word “hero” provide other characteristics of a hero.  A hero: faces danger or adversity with courage; sacrifices self for the greater good of humanity; displays moral excellence”; “ is placed high above his fellows.”


Jesus  – The True Hero

Jesus is infinitely higher above all other heroes – He is the Son of God; there can be no hero that compares.  Heroes come and go, but only Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah.  No hero, except Jesus, was anticipated for thousands of years before His birth and remains a hero two millennia after His death (and Resurrection).

He physically protects people on earth – He saves the Disciples who are in fear of drowning (Luke 8:22-25).  He stands up to the bloodthirsty mob that is going to stone the adulterous woman (John 7:53-8:11).  He protects the disciples from the violent legion when He is taken in the Garden (John 18:8).  He is the ultimate protector.

Jesus is the perfect demonstration of virtue – He demonstrates prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude and charity with perfection that no man has met, or can ever, match.

He heals people from sickness, madness and death – Jesus healed the multitudes of every illness and raises them from the dead.

He stands for Truth against falsehood – Repeatedly, He confronts the Pharisees and the Sadducees and corrects their falsehoods, despite their collusion to kill Him.  He refuses to yield to Pilate, even as Pilate threatens Him with death.  Jesus is Truth itself (John 14:6).

Jesus defeats man’s greatest foe, Satan – There is no greater enemy of man than Satan.  Jesus defeats Satan (1 John 3:8) when tempted in the Wilderness (Matt 4:10), by casting out demons (Matt 8:28-34), and by using the Satan-inspired evil of Judas (Luke 22:3) for the Glory of the Cross and Resurrection (CCC 2853 ).  He defeats Satan on his home turf (Hell) when Jesus descends to offer His “redemptive works to all men of all times and all places…” (CCC 634).  Only Jesus delivers us from evil.

He defeats man’s greatest scourge, Sin – He saves people from sin (CCC 2854).  For example, He tells the sinful woman at Simon the Pharisee’s house, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”(Luke 7:50).

He sacrifices Himself for others – Jesus makes an infinite sacrifice, for His life is of infinite value and he gives it for the sins of all mankind.  He chooses a horrible death freely (John 10:18), saying,  “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).

He offers salvation for all mankind – His Name means “God saves” (CCC 430) and it is only the name of Jesus that can actually save (Acts 4:12).  “Christ’s whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of His cross…” (CCC 517).  “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).  “For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10). “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

He is recognized as a Savior during His life on earth – The Samaritans profess, “It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42).