Fifth Sunday of Easter
When we want to make a journey by car to a place where we’ve never been before, we usually put the address into the Navigation System, hit “start guidance” and off we go. All we have to do is obey the instructions we hear. Eventually we hear the words ‘You have reached your destination.’
When it comes to life’s destination relying on a Navigation System could leave us blind during our journey. It reminds me of the first time I used a Navi. It was many years ago and I was driving through the countryside in southern Germany. The voice from the Navi led me in directions that left me very confused. I ended up at my destination, but the travelling time was much longer than I had expected and the journey itself was confusing and sometimes dangerous. I realized that I should have planned better and consulted a map instead of relying entirely on the voice from my car. In earlier times, we studied the map before we went on a trip. We researched and read books about where we were going…we knew what we were going to do, where we would stop along the way and how the destination looked.
In the gospel for this Sunday, Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to his Father’s house. He said that his Father’s house has many dwelling places and he will prepare a place for them. This would be their final destination.
He tells them they know the way to get there. They were a little confused. I could imagine their reaction must have been like mine the first time I used a Navi. They felt they had no idea where Jesus was going much less how to get there or what it would be like. Helpless and blind. Unlike the voice from the Navi, Jesus reassures them. He tells them that they do know the destination and in which direction they should go. He tells them, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
In Jesus our destination is revealed but it is up to us to get the map out and read it, even study it. Jesus is like that road map. He has travelled that road for us and he has given us an example to follow. It has been laid out in his human actions and words and in his earthly deeds. But it is up to us to look for the signs and listen for his voice.
Jesus’ own death and resurrection made eternal life a possible final destination, the road we travel is the one that leads directly to the Father.
Jesus offers us a sure guide for knowing how to live the truth. When we contemplate his ministry and try to live the way he lived, love the way he loves the destination becomes very real in our life. Of course this is not easy, the only life and home we know if the one we live now. But Jesus is telling us there is more, that this is just our temporary dwelling place. Sure, we have roots, yes we have an address and a family and friends. But we are not home, we have not reached our final destination. It’s almost like we are passengers on an airplane. The plane is simply a vessel, and so is life. It is not the destination. We are all on a faith journey, we are pilgrims, we are in motion. And maybe it is first-class with top class service and fine wines and a gourmet meals or a seat in economy – cramped and uncomfortable. Whichever way we travel we shouldn’t mistake this passage for home.
Jesus tells us he is the way for one reason: he wants us to get up and follow him, to take up our cross…to suffer our Golgotha. And to come home to the Father in our resurrections. Jesus’ truth is this: Love God with all your being. Jesus’ way is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. That’s it! But it is up to us to apply it to our life, actively, conscientiously and unconditionally. Only then can we reach our destination.