Homily: 5th Sunday of Easter A. He’s the Way, the Truth and the Life

It happens sometimes that you want to sleep but then you realise you just can’t. You are obliged to jump out of bed. And the race begins like that. No time to sit and have your breakfast quietly, you sip you tea or coffee, standing while thinking of the next step. You leave your cup in the sink and you hit the road. And that does not just happen once in a while, it’s your daily life. But when you will ever stop in order to understand: Where are you going? The way you are travelling each day, where’s it leading you?

I’m the Way
Bible readings
Acts 6: 1–7
Psalm 33: 1-2, 4-5, 18-19
1 Peter 2: 4-9
John 14: 1-12

Early Christian community

Before we go to the Gospel, let’s first reflect on the First Reading. When we think of the early Christian community often what comes to mind is a fraternal community devoted to the teaching of the apostles, to the breaking of Bread and to prayer. We have an image of an ideal community. And when we try to measure ourselves against such image of community, where members lived fraternally and shared what they had so much that no one was in want; perhaps we just feel ourselves quite far away from such ideal.

Looking at conflictual situations we may be experiencing in our communities, in our families, among friends, or at our place of work –we just wonder, what kind of Christians are we? However, such sad development that we find in the early Christian community in today’s reading may give us another way of looking at ourselves; perhaps, may even give us some hope.

Perhaps not that rosy

The first Christians had also their share of the normal conflicts that you can find among persons. It wasn’t a community of angels, but of men and women like us. Hence, we can expect all possible human fragility. We hear of a complaint about unfair distribution of food. There’s favouritism, privileging widows of the Hebrew origin at the expense of those of the Greek origin.

Yet we can’t miss to recognise also the strength of this community –the capacity to rise above the problem that threatens the cohesion of the community. That’s the power of the resurrection: it’s refuse to yield to whatever wants to keep me in the position of the death. The disciples call for a meeting and the community discerns the way forward: persons of wisdom and inhabited by the spirit of service are chosen to assume the responsibility of serving the community. We should be encouraged by this testimony. It’s possible; we too can find solutions to the problems that may be threatening to wreck our relationships.

To shade the “Hebrew” in me, it’s a journey

When the baptismal water was poured on us, or when we were immersed in it, we were given birth into a new family. Still with our differences, we became brothers and sisters. Nevertheless, to be able to live really this spirit of family is not that automatic. It demands a resolute decision to say no to certain “Hebrew” tendencies that may push me towards keeping barriers. In each person there are things that hold them back from living fully their Christian vocation. Indeed, Christian life is a journey that calls us to conversion every single day. In fact, the problem is not that we have conflicts as Christians, that’s normal; however the scandal is when we use conflicts to tear one another apart. The scandal is to see our fraternity breaking in pieces and yet we don’t take time to discern how we can move out of that.

Indeed, the first Christian community remains a source of inspiration not only for its fraternity but also the capacity of surmounting the human fragility the risks to ruin the community. That’s a great witness of the resurrection. We too can witness our faith in the resurrection not only by prayer but also when step in to sustain the hope of those who making an effort to resolve the issues that are dividing them.

Strange Gospel for Easter

This Sunday’s Gospel sounds a bit strange. We are in full joy of Easter and yet the Gospel pushes back to that sombre moment leading to the passion, when Jesus ate the last meal with his disciples. The imminent departure of Jesus provokes questions in the hearts of the disciples. What do we become after his departure? We can sense the gravity of the mood from the assurance that Jesus gives: “Do not let your hearts be troubled; you trust in God, trust also in me.” Jesus goes further to affirm: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

I wonder what will become of me

What a draining thought!  And that’s not for the disciples alone –it’s a human question. At one time or another events of life may have driven us to reflect on our future, especially when something onto which we have held began to crumble.

I think of a child happy to live in the warmth of the care he receives from both mum and dad. But the news that the parents are separating is nerve-wrecking for a child, what becomes of me? The question is obvious. It’s the same when a child loses the parents prematurely. It’s the entire future that is put in question.

Didn’t the early Christians pose the similar question, especially those who might have known Jesus? We followed him, we saw his great acts, we heard his teachings; but where’s he now? What do we become? In moments of doubt and questions, we are tempted to go and see elsewhere. So, like he did to his disciples, even today Jesus assures us:

Do not let your hearts be troubled;
you trust in God, trust also in me”
for “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

In other words, Jesus is not some guru who is showing us the way –he himself is the way; he’s not indicating us the truth –he’s the truth; he is not leading us where we can find life –he’s life. so, don’t let yourself wonder about. Remain in him. That’s why we need to be conscious of the way we treading each day in order to know where we are going to.

But where are you going?

Thomas poses an important question that should provoke a reflection in each person.  “We do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?” Probably, that’s the challenge we need to deal with. Today the mob, even with thousands of kilometres apart, has all the levers it needs to ply us   and to induce into doing things that we may not even know why we are doing them. Indeed, we put ourselves on the road, we entrust ourselves to some guru without understanding beforehand where exactly we are heading to. Often, the end of the road is disaster.

On the way to the Father

Jesus knows where he is going –he’s going to the Father. It’s the road of love and life. He assures us: he goes to prepare us a place. May God strengthen and confirm us in the choice we have made to follow his son; for only in him can we find life and happiness.  So

Do not let your hearts be troubled;
you trust in God, trust also in me

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See also

4th Sunday of Easter A. Jesus the Gate of Life

 3rd Sunday of Easter A. Jesus, Your Companion to Emmaus

2nd Sunday of Easter A. Divine Mercy: Jesus, I trust in you!

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