April 18, 2008

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Friday of the 4th Week of Easter

John 14:1-6

Last Supper Discourse

It is said that the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin so feared for his safety that his residence in Moscow contained eight bedrooms. Each night Stalin chose a bedroom at random to ensure that no one knew exactly where he was sleeping.

Christ in today’s gospel reading presents Himself as the antidote to fear: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus says: “I am the Way.” The Lord Jesus does not simply give advice and direction. He personally is the way and we cannot miss it. He leads and guides us personally every day.

I’m sure that Jesus as the Way is not like the story of this priest who was assigned in a far-flung parish. The road that led to the parish was dusty and rough. He could not figure it out where the parish church was due to coconut trees and corn fields abounded. And so what he did was he asked a group of children playing along the road where the parish church was.

He asked one of the children: “Son, could you kindly tell me where the parish church is?” the boy just stared at him blankly, as if nothing happened. And so he told again the boy: “if you tell me where the parish church is, I will show you the way to heaven!” But the boy gave him a puzzled look and said: “Sir, you do not even know how to get to the parish church, how you can show me the way to heaven?” But Jesus is the Way and He is not just simply giving advice and direction.

Jesus also says: “I am the Truth.” Many of us can say, “I have taught you the truth.” But only Jesus can say, ‘I am the Truth.’ Moral truth cannot be conveyed in words alone; it must be conveyed in example. Jesus embodies the truth in His person. This truth that Jesus embodies in Himself is the truth St. Gregory of Nazianzus, (A.D. 381):

He began His ministry by being hungry, yet He is the Bread of Life.

Jesus ended His earthly ministry by being thirsty, yet He is the Living Water.

Jesus was weary, yet He is our rest.

Jesus paid tribute, yet He is the King.

Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet He cast out demons.

Jesus wept, yet He wipes away our tears.

Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet He redeemed the world.

Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd.

Jesus died, yet by His death He destroyed the power of death.

Jesus also says: “I am the Life.” He not only ‘shows us the path of life’ (Ps. 16:11); He gives the kind of life which only God can give, eternal life. Is there any fear or trouble which keeps us from the perfect peace and happiness of a life surrendered to Jesus Christ? Let us try to dwell ourselves in these words coming from an unknown author: “When you are the neediest, He is the most sufficient. When you are completely helpless, He is the most helpful. When you feel totally dependent, He is absolutely dependable. When you are the weakest, He is the most able. When you are the most alone, He is intimately present. When you feel you are the least, He is the greatest. When you feel the most useless, He is preparing you. When it is the darkest, He is the only Light you need. When you feel the least secure, He is your Rock and Fortress. When you are the most humble, He is most gracious. When you can’t, He can.”


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