5th Sunday of Easter (A)
I am the way, the truth and the life
1. Opening prayer
a) A key to guide the reading:
As you read, try to listen as though you were present at the last meeting of Jesus with his disciples. Listen to his words as though they were addressed to you, today, at this moment.
b) A division of chapter 14 to help with the reading:
John 14: 1-4: Let nothing disturb you!
c) The text:
not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me.
In my Father's house there are many places to live in; otherwise I
would have told you. 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 to myself, so that you may be with me where I am. You know the
way to the place where I am going.
3. A moment of prayerful silence
so that the Word of God may enter into us and enlighten our life.
4. Some questions
to help us in our personal reflection.
a) Which word of Jesus most touched
my heart? Why?
5. A key to the reading
for those who wish to go deeper into the text.
a) John’s Gospel: a cloth woven from three threads:
* The word text means cloth. Hence, John’s Gospel is like
a beautiful cloth woven from three very different and yet very similar threads.
These three threads harmonise so well that we sometimes get confused and are
not aware that we are passing from one thread to another.
* In the five chapters, which describe Jesus’ farewell (Jn 13 to 17), we can see these three threads: Jesus speaking, the communities speaking and the Evangelist speaking. In these chapters the three threads are interwoven in such a way that they present a whole of great beauty and inspiration, where it is difficult to distinguish which is which.
b) Chapters 13 to 17 of John’s Gospel:
* The long conversation (Jn 13:1 to 17:26) between Jesus and his disciples at the last supper, on the eve of his apprehension and death, is the Testament he left us. In it Jesus expresses his last desire concerning life in community for his disciples. It was a friendly conversation, which the Disciple remembered well. The Evangelist wishes to convey that Jesus desired to prolong to the utmost that final meeting of friends, a moment of great intimacy. The same happens today. There are various kinds of conversations. There is the superficial conversation that leaves everything up in the air and reveals emptiness in the persons involved. Then there is the deep conversation that touches the heart. All of us, at some time, experience these moments of friendly sharing which expand our hearts and strengthen us in times of difficulty. This kind of conversation helps us to grow in trust and to overcome fear.
* These five chapters (Jn 13 to 17) are also an example of the way the communities of the Beloved Disciple catechised. The questions of the three disciples, Thomas (Jn 14:5), Philip (Jn 14:8) and Judas Thaddaeus (Jn 14:22), were also the questions of the communities of the late first century. Jesus’ replies to the three were like a mirror where the communities found an answer to their doubts and difficulties. Thus, chapter 14 was (and still is) a catechesis that teaches the communities how to live without the physical presence of Jesus.
c) Chapter 14: 1-12: An answer to the constant questions of the human heart:
John 14:1-4: The communities asked: "How can we live in community with so many different opinions?" Jesus replies with an exhortation, "Do not let your hearts be troubled! There are many rooms in my Father’s house!" The insistence on encouraging words that would help to overcome the troubles and divergences, means that there must have been different tendencies among the communities, each claiming to be truer than the other. Jesus says, "There are many rooms in my Father’s house!" It is not necessary for all to think alike. What matters is that all accept Jesus as the revelation of the Father and that, for love of him, all take on an attitude of service and love. Love and service are the concrete, which binds together the many bricks of the wall and makes the diverse communities into one Church of brothers and sisters.
John 14:5-7: Thomas asks, "Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus replies, "I am the way, the life and the truth!" Three important words. Without the way we cannot walk. Without the truth we cannot be certain. Without life, there is only death! Jesus explains that he is the way because "No one can come to the Father except through me!" He is the door through which the sheep enter and leave (Jn 10:9). Jesus is the truth because seeing him we see the image of the Father. "If you know me, you know my Father too!" Jesus is the life because if we walk in his footsteps we shall be united to the Father and shall have life in us.
John 14:8-11: Philip asks, "Philip said, ‘Lord, show us
the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Anyone
who has seen me has seen the Father.’" Philip expressed the desire of
many in John’s communities and continues to be the desire of all of us:
what must I do to see the Father of whom Jesus speaks so much? Jesus’ answer
is very beautiful, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still
do not know me? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." We must not think
that God is far away, distant and unknown. Anyone who desires to know how and
who God the Father is, has only to look at Jesus. He has revealed the Father
in the words and signs of his life! "I am in the Father and the Father is in
me." Through his manner of being, Jesus revealed a new face of God that drew
people to him. Through his obedience, he was completely identified with the
Father. At all times he did that which the Father told him to do (Jn 5:30;
8:28-29.38). That is why everything in Jesus is the revelation of the Father!
The signs and works he did are the work of the Father! In the same way, we,
by our manner of living and living together, must be a revelation of Jesus.
To have seen us should be to have seen and recognised in us a part of Jesus.
John 14: 12: Jesus’ promise. Jesus says that an intimate relationship with the Father is not his privilege alone, but is possible for all of us who believe in him. Through him, we can do the same things he did for the people of his time. He will intercede for us. Whatsoever we ask of him, he will ask of the Father and will obtain for us, provided it is in order to serve (Jn 14:13)
6. Psalm 43 (42)
As a hart longs for flowing streams,
Vindicate me, O God,
7. Final Prayer
Lord Jesus, we thank for the word that has enabled us to understand better the will of the Father. May your Spirit enlighten our actions and grant us the strength to practice that which your Word has revealed to us. May we, like Mary, your mother, not only listen to but also practise the Word. You who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.
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