In St. John’s account of the trial and subsequent execution of Jesus, Jesus tells Pontius Pilate that “I was born for this, I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth”. Pilate asks the most profound of questions, “What is Truth”?
In today’s gospel, we hear Jesus introducing his disciples to “the Truth”. Jesus has become aware that he has been commissioned by his Father to live, to die, and to be raised from the dead as the definitive act of Atonement by humankind. He will be true to this commission in the time remaining to him.
Peter, representing the disciples, fails to recognize the veracity of Jesus’ words and the extraordinary mercy of the Father. He remains mired in a world of human concerns and cannot grasp what an awesome Truth he is being introduced to.
It is only after the death and resurrection of Jesus that the truth dawns on Peter and his entourage. Now they understand why Jesus never wavered from the road to Jerusalem. He was witnessing to the truth. He was completing his task.
For those early witnesses to the Resurrection, acknowledging the Truth meant much more than a mental affirmation. The power of The Truth enabled them to share in the means of Jesus’ triumph and gain a share in his triumph. That’s true for us too.