Our life’s journey; The Way, the Truth and the Life
The first part of today’s gospel is often read a funerals and indeed it is actually specified to be read at any reception liturgy for the deceased person the night before. Those who came to the reception Mass for Fr John will have heard it read at his Mass of reception, It is of course taken from the Last Supper, and as such that whole context of what Jesus is saying and doing at this most intimate of encounters with his disciples, is paramount to our understanding of his words to them.
He tells them in answer to Thomas’s question about not knowing the way to the place where is going, that he is the way, the truth and the life. It is a mysterious answer, one which they find perplexing and difficult to grasp. What is the destination to which Jesus is referring? I suppose the only answer we can give, is that it is one which encapsulates the whole of his being and purpose because it is his journey back to the Father. When Jesus speaks in this way, he is clearly expressing himself in a particular way. He has shown the disciples, through his deed of washing their feet, the practical application of his gift of self. He has made this gift, which we receive in the form of bread and wine, a sacramental reality which nourishes and feeds us. He is showing us just how to put this love, his love, into effect in our own lives. It is not simply a one off expression of gener- osity, but an everlasting witness of what we are to be and to become. It is the summation of all that he pours out for us, and in performing such an act, the whole of his self, his life, his truth, and his way, is made clear and presented to us. He is showing us that by washing each others feet we must understand that our lives too are made sacred and holy, and in revealing this to us, he shows us the path we are to take on our journey to the Father.
Such a revelation is neither straightforward nor easy. We are always per- plexed and puzzled by the failure of the disciples to recognise the Risen Lord. Something prevents them from seeing him, and it is only when they comprehend a particular reality about themselves, in the light of seeing the one who is before them, that the way, the truth and life of God’s love, which is the reality of the risen Christ, is made our pathway to the Father. At last we discern both the destination to, and the pathway along which, we are all called to walk St Augustine summed it up beautifully when he wrote: Our hearts are restless Lord till they find their rest in you.
It is our life’s journey to the Father. Let the Risen Christ show us the way.