'The Way, the Truth and the Life' by Rev. John De Celles
To Sunday Gospel Reflections Index
John wrote to show that Christ was
the Messiah, the Divine Son of God.
"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. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him" Philip said to him, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever 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 is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Words like "equality," "diversity," "tolerance" and "choice," can be very confusing to Christians today because, while they have profound meanings in the Christian context, they are most commonly used today in a non-Christian context to mean "indifference." This shift in definition reveals an underlying idea in our culture that there is no absolute truth, no one way to be or act, or one kind of life to live. But in today's Gospel text Christ tells us that He is "the way and the truth and the life."
This text is taken from St. John's account of the Last Supper. Imagine the context: Jesus is seated with His best friends, the Twelve Apostles. And they are enjoying themselves - it had been a triumphant week for them as thousands had poured into the streets to greet Jesus as the Messiah. But Jesus knows their happiness will soon be crushed as they will see Him hung on a cross. And He knows that then they will be sorely tempted to look for a new way, truth and life.
He knows that these 12 men, like every human being from the beginning of time, need to know which way they should go, what the truth is and how to live. He knows that for them, like us, this is a great source of worry and concern. So much so that many will eventually accept anything that seems to temporarily meet those needs, or dull the pain when they go unmet. And so He says to them, and to us: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me."
Still the apostles had a hard time having faith in him. So Philip asks him: "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us." Philip is asking a question similar to what many people eventually ask when they encounter Christ: Why should I accept you? Aren't you just a man like any other man? Maybe wiser and holier than most, but still a man, like Mohammed, Buddha or even Marx. Why can't we follow them? Show us something that makes you special.
I can just imagine Jesus - at the same time frustrated and amused: "Philip, have I been with you for so long a time and you still do no know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father." I'm not just an ordinary man: I'm also God.
God created us all in His own image and likeness. As Pope John Paul II used to say so often: "Man, be who you are!" To be fully human is to be like God. And to be like God is to be like Christ, who shows the way, the truth and life of God.
Now, no two people are exactly the same. And while God made us all in His image, He also makes us unique individuals. So we see the important Christian implications of ideas like equality, diversity, tolerance and choice. But, these ideas become radically opposed to the good of mankind when what we call "respect" for our "diversity" from each other becomes nothing more than a rejection of what will make us - like God. And modern ideas of equality, diversity, tolerance and choice become completely opposed to Christ, and lead to indifferentism, when they reject the truth that Jesus is "the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through" Him.
Please consider a tax deductible gift to support this web site.
To Sunday Gospel Reflections Index