If Advent is to open our minds and hearts to the Person of Jesus Christ, we must also acknowledge the importance of hearing the voice of Christ transmitted to the world through the teaching of the Church.
When Pilate questioned Jesus, "'So you are a king?' Jesus answered, 'You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice'" (Jn 18:37).
Since Christ came to bear witness to the truth, it follows that the truth is needed. In fact, humanity is a truth-thirsty people. Whether admitted or not, everyone desires truth, since it is one of the primary goals of the human intellect. Throughout all of history, as is evident from the historical artifacts, art and architecture of the human race, man has always been a religious being in search of the truth that both applies to himself and transcends himself. Humankind wishes to know its origin, purpose and destiny, including what it means to be a human person and how life is to be lived in order to attain its fullest possible dimension. Consequently, people of all nations and all races unceasingly search for not only the truth about themselves but the truth about the reality in which they live.
The answers we seek are found in God. The irrepressible search for truth leads toward and ends in God, who made mankind for himself. That God is Creator really says it all. It is through God's divine revelation that man comes to understand both the human story and the story of God. This divine and human story is, we could say, the story of reality, which is revealed in its fullness in Jesus Christ, who is the perfect image of God and the totality of divine revelation, and who is himself "the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6).
Vatican II taught that "in reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear" (GS 22). In that sentence, the Council Fathers articulated a vital and stunning truth claim. If we want to understand who man is, it is Jesus Christ who alone provides the definitive answer. If we want to know how to live and how to die, then we must listen to God-made-man who assumed human nature and died for our sake. If we want to know Who the elect shall one day be like, we must look to the resurrected and glorified Savior who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. In Christ the mystery of man is unveiled. Therefore it is Jesus Christ who provides the answers to man's most pressing questions. But how do we listen to Christ the Divine Teacher? How is his saving voice of truth transmitted and received in the here and now?
We Hear The Truth Through The Catholic Church
The importance of prayer is obvious. However, given the level of religious disagreement and confusion in the world, it is just as obvious that more than prayer is necessary. Some will here point to the Bible as the sole point of reference; but that, too, alone and of itself cannot clear up the disagreements because the Bible is incapable of defending itself. The Bible must have an interpreter: when men wrongly attempt to fill that role, doctrinal confusion and disagreement and loss (or illusory progress) is the result. What is required is an authority on earth that speaks in Christ's name.
Man requires an earthly institution of truth, a city of certainty and a holy dwelling place of light that speaks with the authority of God. If such a thing were to be merely an abstract, invisible entity, uncertain and indefinite, it could never be relied upon to guard the truth and provide definitive answers. Humankind, if it is to hear the truth, must have someplace to go and listen to it! We require a secure home whose soul is the Holy Spirit and whose guide is the Lord who himself gives abundant life and light and truth. Something so obvious could not have escaped the divine gaze of Jesus Christ. It is unthinkable that the Son of God would assume human flesh, say that everyone who "is of the truth hears my voice," then die on the cross and leave the world and generations to come with nothing but silence, disagreement, chaos and confusion.
That Jesus must have chosen certain followers (disciples) to carry out his ministry in the future, whom he would send forth into an often dark and hostile world as messengers (apostles) of salvation ...
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