Beginning yesterday and continuing through the coming weeks, the gospels that we hear in Mass will largely be drawn from the profound and beautiful words that Jesus offers his disciples on the night before he died. These words are not superseded in any way by the resurrection. Rather, it is in the light of the resurrection that we hear them anew in order to begin to live ever more deeply from the life that Jesus hands over to us as our own that night. There is no greater life, nor love than this.
With deeper gratitude, now, we hear Jesus’s exhortation, “do not let your hearts be troubled” (Jn 14:1), for if Jesus is going, it is to prepare a place for us. He promises, “I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” (Jn 14:3b). And then Jesus adds, baffling Thomas—and us, too—“where I am going you know the way” (Jn 14:4). We might protest, with Thomas, that we do not know the way, even after hearing Jesus say, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6a). It might seem that Thomas is asking for a concrete path to take to follow Jesus to the Father, but that Jesus indicates his own person as a metaphorical (rather than concrete) answer. But is this really the case? In light of the readings that we have heard this week, especially 1 Pt 2:20b-25, which we reflected on this past Sunday, we see that Jesus really does open up for us a very concrete way in which we can follow him to the Father: the path of living his life in (and as) our life!
Jesus’ path through the passion enables us to walk upon this way, for we cannot walk this path on our own, but we can, by God’s grace, do it with a loved one: this Loved One. On the cross, Jesus has suffered all that we cannot bear but he offers us more still: he helps us to bear what we can bear (as redeemed sinners) so that we can not only say truly that we have been loved, but also that we have also loved, with Christ’s help! Yes, Jesus is the way, and through this way he prepares many dwelling places in the Father’s house (Jn 14:2). There is no other way, and you do know it, as Thomas does. The only way to the Father’s house is the way of love that Jesus prepares for us, a way that is revealed and shared through his own life, truly offered to us as our own. Deep in our hearts we know that it is true: “No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6).