Under the care of the Discalced Carmelite Friars
In Our Lord’s farewell discourse, beginning at Chapter 13, John the Evangelist repeats many of the themes of his gospel. We are told that the last Supper was in progress, and John tells us that Jesus had an inner conviction that He had come from God and was returning to God.
Today`s gospel begins at Chapter 14 with marvellously consoling words. `I am now going to prepare a place for you and after I have gone and prepared a place for you I shall return to take you with me`.Can anyone doubt the power and conviction these words carry for those who believe in Jesus? He will be there to receive us and welcome us to Himself. To the difficulty posed by Thomas about not knowing the way, Jesus answers,
” I am the way, the truth and the life.”
The best illustration of these words for me lie in the story of the British soldier in World War 2 who was lost in the Malayan jungle.A kindly native offered to help him and he followed him. As they plodded along exhausted through impenetrable jungle the soldier understandably asked `are you sure this is the right way?`The native replied `There is no way.I am the way`.
Philip had also been making difficulties, he had been looking for a clear manifestation of God along the Old Testament lines of a theophany, but Jesus tells him, “to have seen Me is to have seen the Father,so how can you say, let us see the father?` .
We find really sublime thoughts for us to meditate on in the words of Jesus here!
We can only understand today`s gospel if faith in the risen Lord is strong and alive in our hearts.What impact has Easter made on us and how has the continued celebration of the risen life of Christ affected us since Easter?
The liturgy today in this Easter season reminds us that we are part of the great body of followers of Jesus Christ which grew so marvellously at the beginning when Mary Magdalen, Peter and the other disciples preached the resurrection of Jesus.The second reading from Peter tells us that we are part of a spiritual building of which Jesus is the living foundation stone.He tells us to get ourselves inserted into this building as living stones and as close as possible to Jesus.
Because of the mystery and the reality of Easter we are in a position to understand these words of Jesus at the Last Supper.Indeed they only make sense in this context.At his resurrection and ascension Jesus went before us to prepare a place for us in God`s kingdom.At our individual death he returns for us to take us with him to that place he has prepared for us or if you prefer to think of it as our true home.I very often read this gospel passage at a funeral mass and I always feel that the bereaved can find great support and solace in them
Remember too that these words were first uttered in the lead up to the last supper in which Jesus gave us this wonderful gift of eucharist which is at the centre and the summit of all our Christian prayer and worship ever since.