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Jesus the Way, Truth, and Life
Feast of Saints Phillip and James, Apostles
Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him,“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, you are the way, the truth, and the life. Whenever I am lost, help me come back to your way. Whenever I am confused, help me find your truth. When I am confronted with death, help me remember that you are my everlasting life.
- The Way: Jesus is the Way. Just before this Gospel passage, Jesus was speaking to his disciples about where he will go after his death. Thomas asked Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Jesus answered in an unexpected way. He did not give them directions on where to look for him, as they might have supposed. He answered them not with a “where” but with a “who.” The answer is himself. He is the way to heaven. He is the door where we, his sheep, can come in and be saved (cf. John 10:9). Christ restored our relationship with our heavenly Father. Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father in order to help them believe all he had told them. Jesus again replied that he himself is the answer. He is the image of the invisible God (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4). Jesus Christ restored our relationship with the Father, restoring the imago Dei—the image of God that was first given to Adam (Genesis 1:27). The only way that we fallen humans can come to the Father is through Jesus, the Way. We can have faith that Jesus, our Good Shepherd, will lead us back to the Father when we have wandered away (cf. John 10:14).
- The Truth: Jesus is the truth. He told his disciples, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). Knowledge of the truth given to us in Scripture is essential to discipleship. If we are misled by lies, we will stray from the Way, and we will be in bondage to sin. Sin warps our frail minds and bodies and captivates us with its empty promises. St. Paul taught that learning about Christ and being obedient to him leads to freedom from sin: “But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted” (Romans 6:17). When we remain close to Jesus our Lord, we are truly free: “…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
- The Life: Jesus is the life. He is our salvation. John began his Gospel praising Christ, the life: “All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:2-4). Nothing came to be without Christ. He is the font of life, the source of existence for all things. Christ, in his goodness, shares his life with us, and through him we receive eternal life: “God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). The Catechism teaches that “Christ enables us to live in him all that he himself lived, and he lives it in us” (CCC 521). In the parable of the vine and the branches, Jesus says that he is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:1-17). We receive life from the vine by remaining attached to the vine. We must remain in Christ to receive his life-giving love. We remain in Christ and receive life when we partake of his holy presence in the Eucharist. Jesus is the “bread of God…which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33).
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, I give you thanks for giving yourself to me in such a beautiful way. You are my way to the Father and my heavenly home. You are the truth that sets me free from sin and teaches me all that is right and good. You are the life that flows through my veins. You share your life with me by feeding me from your own precious body. You died for me so you could do all this for me. I am full of gratitude and wonder at your self-giving love.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray with Psalm 25: “Make me know your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation” (Psalms 25:4-5).
For Further Reflection: Read this commentary by St. Thomas Aquinas: “Jesus Is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
Written by Carey Boyzuck.