Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 2, 2015
JN 6:24-35

That line, delivered (actually shouted) from the witness stand in a military courtroom by Jack Nicholson in the movie “A Few Good Men” is part of Hollywood history. That courtroom scene has become legendary, certainly because of the skill of the actors, but also, possibly, because it prompts us to ponder whether or not we can…”handle the truth.”

One of the truths that we see in the Book of Exodus is that the people were quick to forget the misery and degradation of slavery, and equally as quick to forget how God, through Moses, liberated them. The same held true with Jesus’s followers. His popularity spiked after the miraculous event of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. However, as soon as their bellies started to growl again…so did they. I wonder if St. Paul’s ratings took a hit after the Ephesians read his letter telling them that they needed to give up the lifestyles to which they had grown accustomed? Could they handle the truth?

Francis echoes Paul in his recent encyclical on the environment. We need to give up our current lifestyles or there will be dire consequences. But this cautionary document has been met with much criticism by many people…even religious leaders. Why? Maybe because, like the Israelites, people have forgotten what misery and degradation comes from slavery to sin…and have also forgotten how God, through Jesus Christ, has liberated us.

In another powerful courtroom scene played out on Good Friday, Pilate asked Jesus: “What is truth?” The Gospel does not report a response. A response was not necessary because Jesus had already identified Himself as The Truth. (John 14:6) So it would seem that if YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH, then…YOU CAN’T HANDLE JESUS CHRIST! St. Paul told the Ephesians the very same thing The Holy Father is telling us today…if you want to be in a genuine relationship with Christ, then you have to change your lifestyle.

The Truth…plain and simple…is that to be in a genuine relationship with The Lord, one must live “in righteousness and holiness of truth.” CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH? We are in desperate need of a Few Good Disciples…hopefully YOU are one of them.