“What is the truth?” That was Pilate’s question as he judged Jesus.
Pope Francis asked the same question on November 14, 2018. The difference: The Pope had the answer.
The Holy Father’s comments came in his catechesis at his Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. He continued his series on the 10 Commandments, this day looked at the eighth commandment: “Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
Pilate questioned Jesus and, as Francis recalled, the Lord answered: “For this, I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37). Through the witness of his Passion and death, Jesus gave witness to the truth.
“The truth finds its full realization in the person of Jesus himself (Cf. John 14:6), in His way of living and dying, the fruit of His relationship with the Father,” the Holy Father explained. “This existence as children of God, He, risen, gives it also to us by sending the Holy Spirit who is Spirit of truth, who attests to our heart that God is our Father (Cf. Romans 8:16).
The Holy Father explained that being truthful is much more than simply being precise, exact or sincere. It is about communications, for the Catechism says the Eighth Commandment “forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others” (n. 2464).
“To live of inauthentic communications is grave because it impedes relationships and, therefore, impedes love.,” the Pope continued. “Where there is a lie there is no love, love can’t be exercised. And when we speak of communication between persons we mean not only words but also gestures, attitudes, even silences, and absences. A person speaks with all that he is and does. We are all in communication always. We all live communicating and we are continually poised between the truth and lies.”
The truth is so much more than presenting facts, in the Holy Father’s view. Actually, selecting certain facts in an effort to defame another person is what a gossip does – and Francis has little good to say about gossips.
“Beware! A gossiper is a terrorist because with his tongue he hurls the bomb and leaves calmly, but the thing that that hurled bomb says destroys others’ reputation,” the Pope warned. “Don’t forget: to gossip is to kill.”
Pope Francis challenges listeners to live the truth in all aspects of life: Let us ask ourselves: what truths attest the works of us Christians, our words or our choices? Each one can ask himself: am I a witness of truth, or am I more or less a liar disguised as true?
“Not to bear false witness means to live as a child of God, who never, never denies himself, never tells lies; live as children of God, letting emerge in every act the great truth: that God is Father and we can trust in Him.”