Today’s Gospel acclamation speaks for the entire Gospel. It reads:
‘Jesus said: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.’
When Jesus spoke to the disciples about going to prepare the way, they no doubt thought that he was going to come back very soon. But all the same, it was as though he spoke in a riddle. He said that they know the way to the place he is going. But they replied that they do not know the way.
Jesus’ reply follows on from Good Shepherd Sunday in which he explains in the Gospel that he is the gateway. The way is not a road or a map. It is Jesus himself who is the way.
It is easy for us to look at the disciples and think how much easier it was for them to develop a real relationship with Christ than it is for us. But they too found it difficult to follow. They too did not fully comprehend what he said. And they, like us, depend on explanation. So, in a sense, we have it easier. We have the weight of the Gospel message handed down for generations. We have church tradition and theology and all its rich teaching. And we have a post-ascension view of the disciples in which we can see ourselves. We can chart where we go wrong by observing how they went wrong.
But at the heart of faith is a living relationship with Jesus. To see Christ as the way the truth and the life is to live in him and for him every moment of our lives. It is, of course, the monastic ideal, however difficult it is for us to follow. So, we might look on today’s message and consider how we live for Christ. How do we develop that living relationship with the Way to the Father?
At first, much of it is about letting Christ in. Many of us will be familiar with the pre-raphaelite painting of Christ holding a lantern outside the door. But it is not until we look closer that we see there is no door handle on the outside. Christ can only enter if we open the door and let him in. This is a mechanism we see in our spiritual life on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis. We remind ourselves of his presence in our life. We allow him the space within our heart two transform us.
And so, like the disciples, we are waiting. Yet we wait for him whilst also being in his presence. We may not always feel it, but we have the gift of being by his side if only we turn and recognise that he is there. He, our way, our truth, our life, is a constant companion, holding us in the palm of his hand.
Let us come to him today as though for the first time, thanking him for his presence in our lives, and dedicating ourselves to him.
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.’
‘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.’