Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fifth Sunday of Easter Year A

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Fifth Sunday of Easter Year A
Readings: Acts 6:1-7; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12

The way, the truth, the life and our need to let go are the phrases that lead us into the central message of this Sunday. The story is told of a man who while leaning over a cliff to take pictures, lost his balance and fell off the cliff. On the way down he managed to grab a tree limb. Peering into a deep canyon, he called out, "Help, please. Is anyone up there?" After some silence, a voice answered, "Yes, I am here." "Who are you?" the man shouted. "It's me, the Lord!" Greatly relieved, the man said, "Thank, thank you. Have you come to rescue me?" "Yes," said the Lord. "Let go. I will catch you." The man thought for a second, then asked, "Is there anyone else up there?" Well, we can understand the man's reluctance to let go, but, in reality, there is no one else up there. In the Gospel of this Sunday, Jesus exhorts us to trust in God and in him. He then tells us quite plainly, "I am the way." (In 14:6) He does not say a way, but the way. If we want to go to the Father, there is no other way except through Christ, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You will recall that in the Gospel of last Sunday Jesus used the image of the "Gate" of the sheepfold to refer to himself. This time he calls himself the "Way". In the light of the resurrection, the risen Lord is not only the Gate but also the Way to where he going and where He wants us to follow. Thomas being realistic asks Jesus, "Lord we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Thomas is thinking of the way in physical terms. He imagines that if Jesus could only give them a simple road map and directions to where he is going, they would surely get there. Jesus surprises them in saying, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me". In other words, do not ask for directions for Jesus the Way to the Father. Just let go and follow Jesus Christ. Do not speculate for he is the Truth. If you want to live, go to Jesus and remain in him who is the life itself.

The Gospel helps us to become more deeply aware that to find Christ is to find the Way, Truth and the Life. To seek the truth elsewhere is to stubble and fall. Moreover, to follow the risen Lord is to find the fullness of life in the triune God. If we take another direction we will certainly be lost and die on the way. What the risen Lord is offering us is the Life itself and the fullness of the Truth, in terms of the hereafter. Christ also tells his disciples that to find him is to find the Father, because we can only reach the Father through Christ, because the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son. It is because of Christ's intimate union with the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit, that he is able to do the things that he does. Our union with the Father through Christ will also enable us to "perform the same works" Christ does. So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) Like the man hanging on a tree limb, the Lord challenges us to let go, to risk and trust that He will indeed rescue us no matter how deep the cliff; 2) The readings therefore invite us to a total faith and trust in God; 3) We are invited to get to know Jesus who is the truth more, for to know him is to know the Father in the Holy Spirit.

©2011 John S. Mbinda
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