Fr. Rick’s Homily
5th Sunday of Easter – May 10, 2020
Two thousand years ago the disciples were complaining to Jesus that they did not know where He was going. And how could they know the way to His Father’s house? Jesus replies that, “I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.” This is all very encouraging and very straightforward, but then Jesus follows with, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”
How do we deal with this statement as Christians and members of a very pluralistic society? I suspect we all know quite a number of people who do not believe that Jesus is really God, let alone the ONLY way to the Father; the only way to Heaven. The real path to God, from the perspective of probably most of the world’s great religious traditions, is to first concede that we, as humans, are NOT God. Given this stark reality that there is some Wisdom greater and more benevolent than ourselves, we realized that we must somehow be about giving up our will to this higher power. The central image in most Catholic Churches is the image of a tortured man hanging on a cross revealing His total obedience and submission of His will to His God. This submission of self is what allows Jesus to resurrect and thus transcend the little ideas and plans humans make up for themselves and others.
We might suspect that anyone who has this general disposition, seeking genuine humility and the good of others, might be uniquely prepared for judgement day. Only moments after death each of us will encounter Jesus ‘on the other side’ and will either recognize Him or not. If we do, we will acknowledge at that point that He IS the Way, the Truth and the Life. If we are very self-willed and self-centered, we will likely be repulsed by Jesus and try to avoid Him as much as we tried to avoid the Church He established. We are all making decisions every day and living by attitudes that will either set us up to embrace Jesus or reject Him.
Technically, there could be many people who say Jesus is the Way, but don’t follow Him. There could also be many people who are not so sure of their beliefs, but whose general attitudes about life is much more amendable to the Kingdom of God. Jesus will ultimately make that decision as only He can read peoples’ hearts. The prudent decision is to become very familiar with the Way of Christ and to follow Him the best we can every day.
How can we be sure that we are actually following Jesus?