JESUS AS THE WAY, AND THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE
(A biblical reflection on THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (Year A], 10 May 2020)
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)
What Jesus does not do is give His disciples a theology handbook that will answer all their questions about God. Neither does He hand them a book detailing every law with an index classifying every sin. We might wish that He did, but clearly that was not His way. There are no maps into the future with specific routes clearly arrowed. Jesus simply points to Himself: “I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6 RSV). He alone is the gateway to God, the access to the Father.
Jesus is the Way by which we travel to the fulness of God. He does not say, “I have a way” but “I am the way”. This is not an easy saying. Only when we are united with Him can we reach the Father, because He and the Father are one (see John 10:30). We are not speaking about the unknown God of the Greeks or the invisible God of the Jews: we are speaking about the God who has made Himself known in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is the face of God, the heart of God, the word of God. God is inseparable from Jesus as the Father is inseparable from the Son. “No one can come 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” (John 14:6-7 RSV)
Jesus is the Truth. He not only speaks the truth, but the fulness of truth is found in Him alone. This is the answer to Pilate’s question, “What is the truth?” The truth is not some abstract system of thought but is embodied in the particular person of Jesus. The truth is not a theory, it is a person. Jesus is the truth about God as He is the truth about humanity. The one who walked the roads of Palestine and ate with sinners is God’s gift His true self to us.
As God looked to Jesus to reveal His true self, we look to Jesus to reveal God; He is the only true icon of God.
Jesus is the Life. As John announced at the beginning of his Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4 RSV).
We are because of Jesus. Our very life is His gift. This is why we regard life as sacred from its beginning to its end. We see it not as an accident of fate but as a unique example of God’s gift. No one in this gathering is regarded as a mistake by the Gospel! Other people may see us as a large mistake, bur the Gospel clothes us with a unique dignity. Jesus is the Life, and we all have our life in Him.
But does all this help to give us direction, or do we remain as puzzled as the disciples? The disciples learn soon after Jesus leaves them that they don’t have ready answers to everything. As we learn from the early divisions in the community, they all have to work together to find a way forward. There are many things Jesus did not tell them, and they have to try to face the future with honesty. Together.
Jesus trusts His followers down the ages to face the confusion and complexity of the world. That’s why He doesn’t leave answers to everything. There’s still a lot of working out to be done. Looking to Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life, doesn’t actually solve every question effortlessly. But Jesus knew that! Clearly He wants us to put our faith to work.
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, 9 May 2020
A Christian Pilgrim