Jesus said “the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32), and that he came into the world “to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice” (John 18:37). He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). When you’re getting to know someone, you grow familiar with his or her voice and character traits. It’s such that, at times, when you hear rumors about something the person did, you can say, “That doesn’t sound like something he would do.”
The voice of Truth has cunning clarity. Recognizing it is like bumping into an old friend on the street. Truth resonates with familiarity because it easily connects with other realities we know and experience every day. The more light you shine upon it the clearer it becomes. The Truth is also intrusive, daring, and specific. So, understandably, it’s tough to align ourselves with it when doing so will expose some things that are hard to swallow. But when we do, we see that it is indeed a very clear and right and straight path.
The news surrounding COVID-19 misses the mark in that regard. COVID-19 news dissolves the more light one shines upon it, just as the virus itself dies in the sunlight. Lies are twisted and blurry and confusing, just like the often-contradicting information about the coronavirus.
I don't think the coronavirus is a worldwide conspiracy. It doesn't take a worldwide conspiracy for human nature to creep in and take over our human institutions. It just takes the expulsion of God and Truth in exchange for our own human understandings and humanist worldview.
For thousands of years, humans fell back on primal instincts to explain phenomena. When we abandon the Truth, those primal instincts, like panic, return. We've allowed the zeitgeist of relativism to take over our society, causing there to be confusion about what the Truth is. When the common person does not have the Truth abide in them, they depend on the authorities to tell it to them. In this case, the authorities are the doctors. This superstitious behavior is similar to a primitive tribe or ancient Egyptians going to their medicine man or magicians for answers and a cure.
When the majority of authorities agree, they are not automatically right. We can thank the prophets of the Bible and St. Athanasius’ prevalence over the Arian heresy for proving that. Doctors are human too and subject to the same human nature as all of us. The only way to figure out the Truth is by getting to know him.
Truth warrants that we judge each source by its own merits, not by some weight of authority the source claims to have. Truth has a substantially deep veracity to it, so it can be observed and scrutinized from various angles and still hold up as trustworthy. Truth makes sense. It is good, beautiful, just, life-giving, loving, faithful, and hopeful.
Truth is self-evident: You don't need to prove it because it proves itself in time. Truth is magnanimous: It doesn't seek recognition and it's true whether or not we acknowledge it. Truth does not impose: 2+2=4 no matter what. No one has to say they should equal 4 or must equal 4. God is the great “I am” because Truth is what is, not what other people say it is. Truth does not force itself on those who deny it, but reveals itself to those who seek it.
Truth seekers question the answers. They search for more solid verification than someone’s words, and question everything they hear. They acknowledge that even their own eyes can deceive them.
Truth, in a word, doesn’t just have to be found. He needs to be met. He needs to be pursued in the face of all those who try to downplay and discredit him. He needs to be reached out for like the woman or man you want to dance with, but need to wiggle through a crowd just to get to him or her. He can be confusing, sure, because he is not bound by the same things that bind us. He is the pearl of great price the diver dives down deep to retrieve, swimming past the empty criticism, smoke screens, white lies, optics, schools of mockery and all other kinds of fishy deception.
This whole COVID-19 “pandemic” may not seem like an issue that proves the need for evangelization, but it clearly is. A great number of people are caught up in all of the pandemonium about the virus because so many of us don’t know the Truth. So many of us don’t know Jesus. If we did, we’d be able to point out the lies just like Jesus exposed those of the Pharisees and Sadducees who tried to frame him. This time, liars are not trying to frame him, but they are trying to steal his identity. Those who abide in him will not be fooled. We can slip out of the crowd unscathed. As the blind continue to lead the blind, “Let them alone” (Matthew 15:14). But for those who have chosen to follow Christ, "we have come out of the shallows and the dry places to the one deep well; and the Truth is at the bottom of it" (G.K. Chesterton, The Well and the Shallows).
David Kilby is a freelancer writer from New Jersey and managing editor of Catholic World Report.