Whoever loves the truth comes to the light.
John 3: 21
“Years of terror and death have reduced the majority of Guatemalans to fear and silence.
Truth is the primary word that makes it possible for us to break this cycle of death and violence and to open ourselves to a future of hope and light for all.”
Monseñor Juan Gerardi (1922-1998)
Nineteen years ago today, April 26, 1998, Bishop Juan Gerardi was killed in Guatemala City. A few days before he had released the TEMHI report, the report of the archdiocesan human rights office on the recovery of historical memory in Guatemala, which laid bare the truth about the violence that had ravaged Guatemala for decades.
The report found that about 90 percent of the 200,000 deaths and disappearances were done by the Guatemalan military. This truth was too much for some who tried to hide this by killing the messenger.
Bishop Gerardi’s memory lives on – and, I pray, inspires many to speak the truth and recall the memory of those who have died in defense of life.
In a world where the powers that be bring death to the poor and others, speaking the truth is not valued. Some speak about “fake facts,” but how many seek the real truth?
The early followers of Jesus were put into jail for speaking the truth of his death and resurrection. But they were released, not by the authorities of the temple or the other powers that controlled life in their day. In only one of a few jail breaks recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, the angle of the Lord released them and, instead of going home and hiding, they went to the heart of the temple and preached.
How do I let the truth come to light in the way I live? How do I speak up, in the midst of violence, injustice, racism, and all that keeps people from living as children of God? How do I respond to the truth of God which is the truth of a God who so loves the world that He comes in person (John 3: 16)?