10th May 2020
Year A – Psalter week 1
Today’s gospel is familiar to many of us because it is often chosen for funerals. Jesus’ words to his disciples are very comforting. He knows that he is about to undergo his passion and death, and in order to strengthen the disciples and to encourage them to keep their gaze upon the things of heaven, he promises that after he has gone to his heavenly Father, he will return to take them with him: “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 now going 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.”
There can be many interpretations of what Jesus means when he says that, “there are many rooms in my Father’s house.” One is that heaven has enough room for everyone. Another is that heaven is open to every different kind of person who brings their own unique personality in Christ. Most probably for the disciples at the time, the expression “my Father’s house”, would have brought to mind the Jerusalem Temple, which also had “many rooms” such as courts for worship, areas for storage, and living quarters for priests. Here then, Jesus is hinting that his Father’s house is a sanctuary in heaven where the glorified angels and saints worship God in the heavenly liturgy (see Hebrews 12:22-24, Revelation 4-5, and par. 2795 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church).
When Thomas asks, “how can we know the way?” Jesus replies, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” As I sometimes recount at funerals, one particular story that I heard helps to shed some light on what Jesus may mean by being the way. There was a pilgrim in Jerusalem who wanted to send a postcard home but did not know where the post office was. They popped into a local shop and asked the shopkeeper for directions. The shopkeeper began to give some very complicated directions as the post office was not very easy to find in such narrow streets. Upon seeing the pilgrim looking confused, the shopkeeper kindly said, “Don’t worry, I will show you, I will be the way,” and kindly proceeded to walk to the post office with the pilgrim while leaving the shop in the hands of an assistant. When Jesus says that he is the way, he is reminding us that in order to find our heavenly homeland, he will walk with us on our journey and lead us there himself. Not only does Jesus walk with us while we are living our life of faith here on earth, but because he himself has entered into suffering and death in order to rise again, so too can he accompany us in suffering and even death through to the fullness of the life of the Resurrection that he has won for us.
While walking our life of faith in Jesus, he not only leads us to heaven, but also, while even on the journey, draws us out of the darkness of sin and limited selfish thinking, and brings us into the light of his love and truth. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we begin to see reality as he sees reality, through the lens of love, compassion, justice and mercy. As St. Paul says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
Finally, by walking with Jesus, we are invited to a deeper level of spiritual life, where we are not simply existing, but where we begin to experience deeper faith, hope and love. When Jesus says that he has come that we may have “life to the full” (John 10:10), he is not speaking of life according to the flesh. In his letter to the Galatians, St. Paul reminds us that such things actually lead us away from God: “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). Rather, Jesus is talking about life lived with him in the power of the Holy Spirit. As St. Paul goes on to explain, “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
As we continue to live through these very difficult days, let’s take to heart the words of Jesus in today’s gospel, and keep our gaze fixed upon him; the way, the truth and the life.
God bless, Fr Andy
Acts 6: 1-7
They elected seven men full of the Holy Spirit
May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.
1 Peter 2:4-9
Christ is the living stone, chosen by God and precious to him
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life
Sunday Message and Look
Download this weeks Sunday Message and Look (for our younger parishioners) by clicking on the images, for all the readings for this week, as well as the prayers during mass and the usual weekly thoughts and reflections.
Jesus said: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’ Jn 14:6