Daily Reflection the Fifth Sunday of Easter 2008

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Collect of the Day:

God our Father, look upon us with love. You redeem us and make us your children in Christ. Give us true freedom and bring us to the inheritance you promised.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: Acts of the Apostles: 6:1-7: They elected seven men filled with the Spirit and wisdom.

Second Reading: I Peter: 2:4-9: You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood.

The Gospel John: 14-1-12: I am the way, the truth, and the life.

Today we are going to break with our study on the ‘Four Last Things’ to reflect on the Readings for Sunday Mass. We will finish up our study on the Last Things tomorrow with a discourse on Hell.

In today’s Gospel Jesus says a statement that is quite profound:

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” This is quite the controversial statement, and has been used by many Christians to force conversions on others, and by non-Christians to level claims at Christians of having an elitist view of themselves and of holding an exclusivist view of the truth.

What did Jesus mean by “I am the Way’.” Firstly in the study of Scripture it is very dangerous to take any text out of its context, both in regards to the texts that come immediately before and after it, and also in regards to the Bible as a whole. This is often what sects and cults do to prove their theories. This can be referred to as proof-texting.

If we look at the context in which this saying is given to us we find that Jesus said to the Apostles:

“You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said ” Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus had been explaining to the Apostles about His impending death and Resurrection, but they did not understand what He meant. This is understandable, Then it is that Jesus told them:

“I am the Way.”

I believe after studing this saying and the preceeding chapters of St. John’s Gospel, what Jesus means is; that the way he lived His life is The Way. The example He gave us of how to love our enemies, to repay evil with good, to love our nieghbour as ourselves, forgive and accept others regardless of whether society regards them as clean or unclean. This is ratified in the 17th Chapter of St. John when Jesus leaves His Apostles with a new Commandment:

“To love one another as I have loved you.”

This I believe is the way we are meant to follow if we want to get to the Father. Christianity is not a idea of mere intellectual consent, it is a living Way that must be evidenced by our actions. Ghandi said he had no problems with Christianity and the teachings of Jesus, just that he wished those who claimed to be His (Jesus’s) followers would follow the example of compassion that Jesus actually lived. Next we come to the statement that is often used by Christian Fundamentalists to justify their elitism or religious bigotry:

“No one can come to the Father except through me.”

Now in the study of John’s Gospel we find that Jesus has said:

“I and the Father are One.”

Here He also says:

“To have seen Me is to have seen the Father.”

“I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”

All these sayings give us the key to understand what Jesus meant when He said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” To see how Jesus lived His Compassion and Divine Mercy was to see the Father in action. How Jesus reacted to those labeled by society as sinners, outcasts or rejects, how he reacted to those who wished Him harm and Crucified Him, gives us the blue print of how we get to the Father through Jesus.

The Way is through daily dying to our own selfish natures and trying to become more Christ like in our action and decisions. It is by taking up our own Cross and daily, following Chirst Our Saviour. So we can say with St. Paul:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Msgr. Ian+

Closing Prayer:

Since it is from you, God our Father, that redemption comes to us, your adopted children: look with favour on the family you love, give true freedom to us and to all who believe in Christ, and bring us all alike to our eternal heritage.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.

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