There are many ways to get into heaven, many rooms in the mansions of eternity. But in today’s Gospel Jesus makes the important point that he, specifically, is the way to the Father.
He said this as a response to Thomas, the disciple, who said that they didn’t know where they were going. The response is helpful, and empathetic. If you know me, says Jesus, you know the Father.
This is one of our greatest signposts for today. Jesus is saying this to us. We can feel lost and abandoned. We can struggle to know which way to turn. But as long as we follow Jesus, as long as we turn to him in truth, we are also turning to the Father, aligning ourselves with him.
We can, in the prayer of unknowing by the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton (below), guage some of today’s Gospel, hearing it through our humanity. We may, if we want, take the words for our own and use them as a personal act of oblation to God:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen.
The Lord be with you
And with your spirit.
A reading from the Gospel according to John (14:1-12)
Jesus said to his disciples
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house;
if there were not, I should have told you.
I am going now to prepare a place for you,
and after I have gone and prepared you a place,
I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too.
You know the way to the place where I am going.’
Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going,
so how can we know the way?’
Jesus said:‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
If you know me, you know my Father too.
From this moment you know him and have seen him.’
Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied’.
‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him ‘and you still do not know me? ‘ ‘To have seen me is to have seen the, Father, so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.
You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.
‘I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself,
he will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.’
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.