Which of us is not familiar with those words" Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" We hear them on TV constantly.
In these last days of the Easter season, we are coming to the end of Paul's journeys. Today Paul, gathers the presbyters from around Ephesus and delivers his farewell address. He ends by saying,
And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.
He knows well that much of what he said to them was not well received. But he understood that proclaiming the gospel means not just telling the parts of the truth that people want to hear, but daring to tell the whole truth.
Do we want the Pope, our bishops, priests, and deacons to preach the whole truth? Come on, let's be honest. No one likes to hear the whole truth. We think if American culture accepts something, the Catholic Church should follow. If other churches do something and its popular, the Catholic Church should follow. I've heard Pope Francis called a socialist, because he dares to challenge our approach to economics.
Most pastors want happy parishioners. And I am not suggesting that anyone should get up on Sunday and harangue the people of God. But we must find ways to convincingly proclaim the hard parts of the Good News.
We call ourselves disciples, that is students, because we should always be learning, growing, changing. If we look into our hearts we will all find, I suspect, subjects on which we think the Church should change and conform to our way of thinking. Instead of changing the church, we should stay focused on changing ourselves. To be a true disciple means opening every corner of our lives to hear the whole truth, and allowing ourselves to be transformed, molded more fully each day into the image of Christ.