Consecrate-from the latin, consecrare; to render sacred
Render-cause to be or become; make
Sacred: dedicated to a religious purpose, sanctified, holy
Today’s Gospel is part of what is known as “The Last Discourse” of Jesus. It is Jesus’ high priestly prayer. In it, he begins to speak of his earthly ministry as already a thing of the past. He is interceding to the Father on the behalf of the apostles and the apostles are standing in for all the disciples who will follow; including you and me.
Jesus asks the Father to consecrate the disciples in truth. Jesus desires the apostles (and all those disciples who were yet to come) to be made holy. But not just holy in an abstract sense. Not just holy for use in a Church setting. Jesus asks very specifically for all his disciples to be rendered holy in truth.
All of the major world religions deal with truth. From defining truth as simply the opposite of false to being something to be sought, truth is something to be pointed at. It exists “out there” and religion is often seen as a “search to find truth”.
Only in Christianity, does the God for whom infinity is an attribute, enter into time and space and say, “I am the truth.” When Jesus Christ stepped out of infinity and became a part of creation, a part of finite, sequential time, He sanctified all of creation. The latin term is ‘suspendu’. What was finite and ordinary from the time of Creation, when it exists alongside the person of Jesus Christ, becomes elevated, sanctified, holy.
At the beginning of the Gospel of John, we hear, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Jesus Christ is the Word of God. What does that mean?
God spoke and creation happened. God’s word is powerful enough to make all the world exist, where it didn’t the moment before. This is the stuff that stretches our brains and our hearts.
In Jesus Christ, the words God spoke were made present in the time and space of creation. Because he is God’s own word, Jesus is truth. That means truth is no longer just an idea. Truth is a person, the person of Jesus.
Think about that a minute. This is heady stuff. This is where we become acutely aware that we see through a glass darkly and we long and ache for clarity. Truth is not simply the opposite of false. Truth is not an object to found. Truth is not an abstraction that can be manipulated at will. Truth is a person. A real person who lived and breathed and is accounted for in history. Truth is a man who lived, breathed, died and, as we celebrate in this Easter season, returned from the dead and ascended into heaven.
For us as Catholic Christians, religion isn’t so much a search for truth, religion is an encounter with the person who is truth and in that encounter our hearts are converted, our lives are changed. In the Eucharist, in Sacred Scripture, in each other, we encounter the one whose very thought causes us to exist, that encounter causes us to become, to be rendered sacred.
St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” Our restless human hearts can search widely for truth, but is it only when we encounter it in the person of Jesus Christ, we will come to understand that we are dedicated to a higher purpose. It is in encountering Jesus Christ; we are made holy. In Him, we are truly consecrated in truth and that changes everything.
While wearing many hats, Sheryl O’Connor is the wife and study buddy of Thomas O’Connor. Not having received the gift of having their own children, their home is filled with 2 large dogs and their hearts with the teens and youth with whom they work in their parish collaborative. Sheryl is the Director of Strong Families Programs for Holy Family Healthcare which means her job is doing whatever needs to be done to help parents build strong Catholic families. Inspired by the works of mercy, Holy Family Healthcare is a primary healthcare practice in West Michigan which seeks to honor the dignity of every individual as we would Christ. Find out more at https://www.holyfamilyhealthcare.org/