JESUS CHRIST IS THE WAY, AND THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE
(A biblical reflection on THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (Year A], 14 May 2017)
Gospel Reading: John 14:1-12
First Reading: Acts 6:1-7; Psalms: Psalm 33:1-2,4-5,18-19; Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:4-9
The Scripture Text
“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going. Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; henceforth you know Him and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to Him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the works of themselves.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will He do, because I go to the Father.” (John 14:1-12 RSV)
Theologians sometimes describe the Church as a “pilgrim people” because Christians are like pilgrims on a journey in search of their heavenly home. Because it’s easy for people to get lost when traveling to a place they’ve never been before, they have to look for signs and landmarks that tell them they are going in the right direction or they need someone who has already been there to point the way so they won’t make a wrong turn. A person’s spiritual journey is no different.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one can come to the Father unless they come through Him. This means Jesus is our Guide, pointing the way to our heavenly home and calling our attention to the various spiritual signs and landmarks that tell us we are going in the right direction. Without Jesus, we can easily get lost because we do not know where we are going.
One of the lessons in today’s Gospel reading also influenced formation of the Nicene Creed, a summary of beliefs of the Christian faith. In the days of the early church, there was a heresy called Arianism that claimed Jesus is not God in the same way the Father is God and that Jesus is supposedly inferior to the Father. The Nicene Creed is the Church’s response to the heresy.
In this creed, we find the phrase that says Jesus is “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God; begotten, not made, one in being with the Father.” These words mean Jesus is God in the same way the Father is God. Jesus, our light, comes from the Father who is light and Jesus, the true God, comes from the Father who is true God. In other words, Jesus and the Father are one. That’s exactly what Jesus means when He tells Philip in today’s Gospel that whoever has seen Him has also seen the Father.
(Adapted from Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels.)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that You are the Way and the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father, but by You. Lord, I want to see Your glory at the Holy Mass today – Your majesty, your beauty, and Your goodness. I know that I do not see it as I ought, so I ask You to open my eyes. Jesus, my Lord and my Savior, let me see You! Amen.
Jakarta, 12 May 2017
A Christian Pilgrim