Fifth Sunday of Easter-A
As Jesus conversed with his disciples, St. Thomas asked the question that all humanity wishes to be answered. “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” The ‘way’ has always been elusive because sin has distorted the true calling of every person by tricking them into following paths promising life and ending in promises broken. Those who finally become aware of their helplessness conclude that the way of selfishness has only led them to disappointment and stagnation. For those who still haven’t realized that human fulfillment only comes through a healthy relationship with God and others, their endless journeys never produce any satisfaction. So, they search paths for vibrancy, only to find out their path leads nowhere. People who rely on finding the way alone are doomed to follow dead-end paths.
Jesus is aware of the human angst from living in a fallen world and consoles his disciples by telling them not to let their hearts be troubled. By assuring the disciples of his divine peace, his words are soon followed by God’s plan to correct the waywardness of humanity and place them on a path that will give them life. In the concise but powerful response to St. Thomas’s question about how to go, Jesus outlines God’s plan to destroy sin and death and replace them with goodness and life. “I am the way, the truth and the life.” In the first two words of his response, “I am,” Jesus introduces himself as God. When Moses spoke to God, asking him what the Israelites should call him, God told him, “I am who I am,” meaning God is the source of all life and existence. Because Jesus uses the words “I am,” he can confidently instruct his disciples about his divinity and relationship with the Father, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
After establishing his divinity, Jesus tells his disciples he is the way. By personifying the way, the direction is now made clear by the example of Jesus’ earthly life. In the grand plan of salvation, Jesus was incarnated to show his creatures what an authentic human life should look like. Jesus’ life on earth was one of love and service for others and a wiliness to suffer and die for them. The path which Christians must follow now becomes clear. A person’s journey must be contrary to the natural desires or self-preservation alone by now imitating how Jesus lived as best they can.
Rare in a sinful world is the objective truth of God. By stating he is the truth, Jesus becomes the conduit by which the truth of God is made known to humanity. When queried by Pilate about truth, Jesus told him, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” By listening to the words of Jesus, humanity now has an unfiltered source of objective truth, which is the only way in which human beings can achieve their potential.
Finally, Jesus reminds his disciples that he is the life. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, is life itself, and that divine life is offered to human beings through his resurrection from the dead. St. Paul teaches, “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope, For if we believe that Jesus dies and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” And in other places, “If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.”
If you had never heard of any of the other teachings of Jesus except “I am the way the truth and the life,” you would not be lacking in understanding God’s salvific plan to save humanity through the person of Jesus Christ. Believing in those words is the only way peace can be found. And this is why our hearts should not be troubled.