This week it is hoped that we will drop anchor on the famous proclamation of Jesus that “I am the way, and the truth and the life.

[Recorded in TODAY’S GOSPEL: JOHN 14: 1 – 12] However, this well-known verse is frequently not studied and communicated with real insight. Let us focus on the word way.

Jesus is not talking about a route, a road map, direction or itinerary. He is not describing himself as some sort of sign post – rather he his referring to the

MANNER in which he has executed the Father’s plan. His WAY is the only method and plan for a full understanding of the TRUTH he proclaimed – as well as the only Way of LIVING that Truth. In the context of the Lord’s statement, a way is to be understood as a custom or manner of behaving – a specific procedure in order to obtain one’s objective. All we have to do is remind ourselves of the meaning of the word wayward – – – childishly self-willed, perverse or unaccountable. None of these characteristics could possibly be used in relation to Jesus’ manner of fulfilling the Father’s will. He had a specific procedure (which never varied) in order to obtain his objective. It is this manner of behaving which we must strive to adopt as OUR WAY OF LIFE. The result is immediate. We come to an ever-increasing understanding of God’s TRUTH. This understanding affirms and encourages us in our efforts to continue LIVING THE WAY.

What is the manner of our discipleship? How do we actually go about living the truth?

In today’s Gospel extract Jesus was trying

(almost if, as it were, he was beginning to despair?) to teach Thomas and Philip. Both of them, in slightly different ways, appeared to have never really understood WHO the Lord was and what his mission was all about. It was not so much that they had ‘lost the plot’ but had never really understood what ‘the plot’ actually was. In many ways they were wayward, being childishly self-willed, perverse and unprepared to hold themselves PERSONALLY accountable.

To Thomas he says “if you had known me, you would have known.” Philip hears the Lord telling him, “have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me?” To both apostles Jesus was reminding them of the basics – “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” The truth and the lifedid not seem to arrest their attention. Philip was blind to the presence of the Lord and wanted to see the Father. He wanted it on a platter – with as little personal effort as possible. Thomas saw the way as a route, a map or specific ‘road’. Note carefully words from

TODAY’S PSALM [33 or 32]. “The word of the Lord is faithful … to be trusted … rescues … keeps alive in famine.” Do we truly trust the Lord’s faithful word – both as a rescuer as well as providing us with the principal source of Christian living? Jesus’ three-year effort has obviously not been fully grasped by either Thomas or Philip!

In this connection how do we fare as reflecting our understanding and appreciation of whom and what we are? In order to reflect on this question let us read

carefully the closing words of THIS SUNDAY’S SECOND READING [1 PETER 2: 4 – 9]. There we are reminded that “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people ….”Are we images of who we really are? A little earlier in the same Chapter Saint Peter writes – “be sure, then, you are never spiteful, or deceitful, or hypocritical, or envious and critical of each other … spiritual honesty which will help you grow up to salvation.{see 1 Peter 1: 2: 1 – 3} In short – we all need to grow up a great deal more.

In this regard a number of questions arise in my mind in the face of the opening words of

THIS SUNDAY’S FIRST READING [ACTS 6: 1 – 7]. It may well have been that there did exist some favouritism with the distribution of food to the widows. However, it is the “murmuring” of one group against another which needs to challenge us. How often do we, while we are following the way, adopt a different manner while resolving differences within the community of the Church in general and our parishes in particular? Even when the legitimate authority, after due consultation, makes a decision and embark upon a course of action, we see the appearance of murmuringgroups of dissatisfied ‘agitators’.

What

IS the MANNER of our seeking the truth in order that we may be LIVING examples of THE WAY?

It is worth noting that some time before the first believers were called Christians they were referred to as

FOLLOWERS OF THE WAY!

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