“And that’s the Gospel truth!” We’ve all heard that statement, but mostly in the context of someone trying to convince others that they are telling the truth. In that sense, the statement is more the swearing of an oath than it is bearing witness to the truth and hope of the Gospel message. It seems to me that we Christians have difficulty with “the Gospel truth.” All too often, when we wish to convince others that we are bearers of “the truth” of our faith, we revert to the letter of the law in our zeal to preach to every creature. The reading in Colossians today reminds us that our focus should be on the hope of the Gospel that reconciles us to God, not the alienation of our evil deeds. It seems to me that if I have been presented as holy and without blemish through Christ, I would want to share that liberating message with others. Why would I then want to call attention to the evil deeds of others in a well-intentioned attempt to “save” them?
In our lessons for today, Jesus says “I am the way and the truth and the life.” And further it says, no one gets to the Father except through Jesus. These lessons help me see that we don’t get to the Father through the law. But so often I lose hope and revert to following the law to secure my salvation and the salvation of others. In the Gospel message for today, the Pharisees were also stuck on that still spinning broken record, but Jesus reminded them that laws are made for man, not man for laws. In our witness to the Gospel message, our lives should be examples of respect for the law, but a recognition that it is not the law that saves us, it is Christ. To me, persevering in the faith as a witness to others is a challenge to remain firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of my reconciliation with God. Living the Gospel message to me means that I need to keep that reconciliation in my focus of what I want also for others.
By Barbara Dilly