Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, 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 except through me.” (John 14:1-6)
The pandemic has turned our world upside down. There are few people who have not been touched by it. Most of us know someone who has died from it. All of us have seen its effect in our daily life.
In the midst of it, we see more turmoil as divisions grow around the world. Labels now define us. We are in or we are out depending on the label given us. Racial and gender labels, income labels, political labels, religious labels.
Is that what you accept? Will a label ever comfort you, fill you with peace, answer the longings of your heart? You and I know they won’t, all they do is segregate us more.
There is only one answer that will ever fulfill us, ever answer our fears, our loneliness or our sorrow. It is in today’s Gospel.
Jesus’ words are reassuring: “I will take you to myself”; “so that where I am you also may be.” They are words of someone who sees fear in the eyes of the one being left behind as Jesus did with his disciples. They are words that we need to hold.
Thomas eagerly asks Jesus to explain the way for them to reach this place. And Jesus pointed out, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life.” (John 14:16) By this self-offering, Jesus calls us to make our life here on this earth a pilgrimage so that we may reach where He is. In this declaration is also a precious revelation meant to mold our style of living. In this self-revelation, Jesus declares His identity and His relevance in our life. We need to make an honest soul searching. What does Jesus mean to me? Does He have a role in my daily living?
When Jesus becomes our way, He leads us to the Heavenly Father. His longing is for us to be with Him through eternity. Our life on earth is a pilgrimage. We are on the way – the way that leads to the Father. The sense of our existence consists in moving all the time towards the Father. What we achieve in this world find its meaning only in so far as they propel us to the Father.
This vision completely rules out every sort of materialistic and consumerist option of life. We are pilgrims on this earth; we can build no permanent security or dwelling here. We most definitely need to work to improve the quality of life on this earth. We must fulfill our responsibilities in the situations we are placed. But this is not enough and cannot be an end in itself. For the real quality of our life would depend on how oriented I am to God. My actions and decisions would stand the test of time and would bear real fruit when they are built on the sure foundation of pursuing God’s way.
This must be an everyday experience – God instructing us in every minute aspect of our life. When we are sure that we want only God’s way in our lives, He will reveal it for us. The Lord confirms His faithful guidance in our lives, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ ” (Isaiah 30:21)
Life is difficult. But Jesus has gone ahead of us to show the way and to be the way for us. With Him our lives acquire a very clear direction and a sure goal. It is then that all labels fall aside. It is then that we have truly become followers of Jesus Christ.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with the Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth.”
If you are looking for a goal, hold fast to Christ, because he himself is the truth, where we desire to be. My mouth shall reflect on the truth. If you are looking for a resting place, hold fast to Christ, because he himself is the life. Whoever finds me finds life, and receives salvation from the Lord. Therefore, hold fast to Christ if you wish to be safe. You will not be able to go astray, because he is the way. He who remains with him does not wander in trackless places; he is on the right way. Moreover, he cannot be deceived, because he is the truth, and he teaches every truth. And he says: For this I was born and for this I have come, to bear witness to the truth. Nor can he be disturbed, because he is both life and the giver of life. For he says: I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.
(St. Thomas Aquinas)