5th Sunday Easter A: You have reached your destination!

You have reached your destination!

When people want to make a journey by car these days to go somewhere they have not been to before, they usually use a satellite navigation system.  All we have to do is to obey the instructions and turn right or turn left when we are told to do so. And eventually we hear, ‘You have reached your destination.’

However, relying on a navigation system to find our way leaves us blind both about what the way actually is and what our destination is like.  We just follow the instructions we are given.  And this is very different from how things used to be when we had to rely on roadmaps and on our own knowledge.  In those days we studied the map beforehand and we could see the way ahead in front of our eyes laid out on the map itself.  We also used to find out what the destination looked like, so that we could recognize it when we reached it.  It still wasn’t always easy to know how to find our way, but we had some knowledge about it, much more so than when we rely on a navigation system.

Now, in the Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to His Father’s house, where He will prepare a place for them also in heaven, which is their final destination.  He tells them they know the way to get there.  Yet, their puzzled reactions are like those who regularly rely on a navigation system, but then suddenly find themselves without it.  They feel they have no idea about either where Jesus is going or what the way is.  They feel blind and helpless.

Yet Jesus reassures them that they do know the way and that they do know the destination to which they are heading.  For He tells them, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.’  Jesus is the Way, because He is the truth and the life.  He is the Truth as the authentic and full revelation of God, the Father.  He has shown them the Father.  And He is the Life, because He offers to them eternal life, that life which is a share in God’s own life, the life of the Father, given through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus has revealed to us our destination and He is like a roadmap that shows us how to reach it.  For it is in His own humanity, His own human actions and words, that He has both traveled that road for us and given us an example to follow, so that we can find the way for ourselves.  By His own death and resurrection He has put an end to the terror of death and made eternal life possible for everyone, traveling the road that leads directly to the Father.  And in His life and teaching He offers us a sure guide for knowing how to live, helped and enabled to do by the grace of the Holy Spirit, so that we can find our final destination in our Father’s house.  

Yet Jesus, as the Way, the Truth and the Life is more than just a roadmap to the Father.  Even the best roadmap is only a means to get us to a destination.  But Jesus is also the destination.  Jesus makes the Father visible by His own life through the gift of the Spirit.  So, when we put into action His teachings and when, through the sacraments, we come to share in His life, death and resurrection, we also get a glimpse of our final destination in the present life.  The full bliss of a place in our Father’s house is something that awaits us after death, but in Jesus and in our life in Him we here, in part, have already reached our destination. 

Fr. Tom