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How Do We Know the Way?

May 14, 2017

A reflection for the 5th Sunday of Easter, Year A. The readings are Acts 6:1-7, Psalm 33, 1 Peter 2:4-9 and John 14:1-12.

Remember back in the day when we used maps? I love maps. I love seeing the whole picture. Where we are, where we are going, what route options we have, where we came from… Remember having the map on the passenger seat and being able only to glance at it long enough to focus and find your place before you had to watch the road again? Those were the days of road trips!

That’s why I don’t like GPS. The GPS just tells you where you are right now and what the next turn is. I like to know where I am coming from and where I am going. I guess, at least the GPS has got one thing right: In order for it to tell you how to get there, you have to know where you are going.

And we know where we are going. You’ve heard me say dozens of times that we have one destination: Heaven. And our pastor has been saying recently that there is only one reason for all this religion stuff: to be religious. To be closer to God. Why? So we can get to our destination.

But even if you’ve heard us tell you where we are going and how to get there and you are still feeling a bit lost, don’t worry, you are in good company.

The Apostles also struggled with this. Today’s Gospel story happens in the middle of the Last Supper narrative from John’s Gospel. The disciples don’t know what’s about to happen to Jesus, but Jesus is basically saying goodbye to them and I think there’s probably a feeling of sadness and even tension in the air.

And Thomas – that’s the same guy who after the resurrection was not in the room when Jesus appeared to the apostles and said he would not believe unless he saw and touched – that guy, Thomas, asks Jesus: “We don’t know where you are going; how do we know the way?” I reminds me of the many times that I’ve been with friends and the group decides, around 2am to go for ice cream or something, and there are several cars and you’re like “Wait, I don’t know where that is! Wait for me so I can follow you!” Well, we can follow Jesus, because to get to this destination, He is the Way. All we have to do is follow Him.

So here we are. We want to get to Heaven and we know we should follow Jesus and we’re trying, but we don’t feel we’re on the right path, on the right way. How do we know? There are two things that we need to remember that will help us know whether we are really following the Way. We know because the Way of Jesus is also the Way of Truth.

First: The right Way feels like you’re truly you.

When we are on the Way, the right Way, it is the Way that shows us who we truly are. My friend, Catholic singer/songwriter Sarah Hart has a song that says, “Any road will do if you have no destination; you’re going in circles having a good time, but really where are you, if any road will do?” Well, we have a destination, but we feel like we’re going in circles – then you’re on the wrong road. That is not the Way.

I think that sometimes we sub-consciously feel that we don’t want to completely commit to follow Jesus on the Way because He’s going to ask us to do something we don’t want. Or that if we commit entirely to Jesus Christ, we are not going to be able to have fun anymore. That’s not at all. When you find Jesus you find who you truly are, because his Way is the Way of Truth.

It’s like these seven men in the first reading from the Book of Acts. These are the first men who were selected and ordained, if you will, to be deacon. They were chosen for a specific task: to take care of the marginalized people, who at the time, where the Greek-speaking Jewish widows and orphans. I don’t know what path these men were on before they were selected – sure they were good men and they were following Christ; maybe some of them knew Jesus. But I bet that after their “ordination” they found out who they truly were.

I feel the same way about my diaconate. I don’t know how else to explain it, except to say that the day of my ordination was like coming home. It’s like I’d been a Deacon all along. This is exactly what I’ve heard from friends who are religious sisters or priests. They feel like once they profess their vows or they were ordained, it was like coming home. Many of us can also say that about married life.

Second: The Way of Jesus is the Way of Truth, but it is also not a way that brings us success, or status. It doesn’t bring us prestige or riches. It’s not going to give us pleasure or even happiness. Those are passing things. The Way of Jesus is the Way that brings us Life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Perhaps those of you who are Mothers can relate to this – as we celebrate Mother’s Day – again, as Mothers you’ve found the Way, the way of motherhood for you – God has created all women to be spiritual mothers, but He has created some women, most women, to be physical mothers. And so when you become a mother you feel like this is who you truly are. As if this was what you were meant to do always. That’s because it’s Truth. But it is also a Way that gives Life (literally). If you’re on a way that seems to be sucking the life out of you; it’s not the right Way! The Way of Jesus always leads us to and gives us Life.

The Way of Jesus is not the way of lies and it is not the way of death. The bottom line is that first we have to find Jesus. We have to long for Him. We have to want Him. This weekend we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima. Why do we venerate Mary? ‘Cause Mary always leads us to Jesus. If you are not looking for Jesus, don’t cling to Mary and pray the Rosary, because she’s going to take you right to her Son.

When Mary appeared to the three shepherd children at Fatima 100 years ago, she asked them, “Do you want to offer yourselves to God?” The children answered “yes we do!” That’s a question for all of us. Do you want to offer yourselves to Christ? Do you want Jesus Christ? Every morning, do you wake up and want Jesus Christ? Most of us will wake up and want pancakes before we want Jesus Christ!

Jesus has gone home to prepare a place for you. He has a room just for you, exactly how you like it, with all the right décor and colours; with all your favourite books and music. It’s the right size bed and the window in the right spot. And He’s waiting for you to come home and live with Him. He can’t wait for you to get there so He can hang out with you. He’s dying for you to come home. Don’t you want to go?

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in Christ, who is the Way, a way of Truth and a way that gives Life! Eternal Life!

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