The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God. This is a month to explore truth-telling. With Easter providing the median of these five weeks, we travel in utter darkness and then on to the brightest light of salvation. The worst of human nature and the best of human love are revealed along the way.
In these readings, the awe of the mystical Johannine gospel and letters meets the justice in the prophetic words of Jeremiah and Isaiah and in the unified, egalitarian early church community of Acts. Ultimately, the mystical and the prophetic form one unifying truth in the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus in John 20 and Luke 24.
The whole truth? In contemporary America, we have a silent compact that we will not challenge the constant barrage of untruthful or less-than-truthful things that we are told each day. Are we awash in official secrets and corporate deceptions? These scriptures remind us that the redemptive power of the good news remains covered up a lot of the time, too.
Two groups populate these passages. Religious leaders (and sometimes apostles) put a sheen of religiosity and rhetoric over lethal conniving and cover-ups. The chief priests look for a way to arrest Jesus “by stealth” and to kill him (Mark 14:1-2). Meanwhile, prophets and preachers—and the Son of the Blessed One—reveal both unseemly secrets as well as truths that illuminate the way to salvation for all.
Robert Roth is a writer and social activist in East Lansing, Michigan.
In Death, Life
Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:1-12; Hebrews 5:5-10; John 12:20-33