First Reading: Acts 13:26-33
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 2:6-11
Gospel Reading: John 14:1-6
One of the earliest names widely associated the followers of Christ (unknown to many Christians, today) was “The Way”, the other being “The Nazarenes” (cf. Act 24:5), as well as being called a sect amongst the prevalent beliefs of the time. We were told by Luke in Acts 11:26 that the followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” in Antioch, and we also see the use of this name only in two other passages: Acts 26:28 and 1Pet 4:16. Nevertheless, a host of passages referred to the believers as followers of “The Way” or belonging to “The Way” (cf. Act 9:2, Act 19:9, Act 19:23, Act 24, Act 24:22). This phrase apparently originated from Christ Himself, who called Himself “The Way”. Interestingly, this is what we hear in today’s Gospel.
In today’s Gospel, we hear Christ referring to himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me”. This statement of Christ was an answer to the question of Thomas: ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Thomas said this because Jesus encouraged them (his disciples) with parting words on the need to continue to trust in God, and also regarding his return to the Father ahead of them to prepare a place above in order that they might be with him. They were obviously perplexed at those words. Thomas’ question shows their anguish at losing Jesus, but Jesus comforted them, saying: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life”; thus reinforcing the idea that He was the messiah who represented full access to God. After Christ’s death, the veil of the sanctuary was rent, giving free access to God. Jesus is the way that leads us to God; the Way of Life; the way to salvation. Jesus lived on earth to show the way. Following this path means that we must walk as he did. We must follow in his footsteps, as he did and encourage others to do the same.
Dear friends in Christ, what we hear the followers of Christ doing in the first reading was encouraging others to follow “The Way”. Put differently, in the first reading, we hear Paul preaching in the Synagogue in Pisidia about Jesus, the Way to the Father: “We have come here to tell you the Good News. It was to our ancestors that God made the promise but it is to us, their children, that he has fulfilled it, by raising Jesus from the dead.”
Dearest friends, we have been introduced to the “Way” that leads to the Father through the Sacraments of Christan initiation. The corresponding responsibility lies on us to also introduce other to “the Way” through our conducts and way of life, in order to be made worthy of the promises of Christ to his disciples: “I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too.”
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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