The Way, The Truth, The Life

Sometimes, another just says it succinctly and to the point. Bishop Robert Barron does that so well commenting on this morning’s readings. In John 14 as the Apostles continue to struggle with Jesus’ words preparing them for life after the Crucifixion and Resurrection, they want to know where Jesus is going, the way to follow, the truth of the meaning of all that is unfolding, and what will life be without Jesus to lead them. Jesus’ reply is elegant. 2,000 years later those same words are just as pointed and poignant.

Bishop Barron writes:

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Either Jesus is who he says he is (in which case we are obliged to give our whole lives to him), or he is a madman (in which case we should be against him).

What does not remain, as C.S. Lewis saw so clearly, is the bland middle position that, though he isn’t divine, he is a good, kind, and wise ethical teacher. If he isn’t who he says he is, then he isn’t admirable at all.

Thus Jesus compels a choice in a manner that no other religious founder does. The Buddha could claim that he had found a way that he wanted to share with his followers, but Jesus said, “I am the way.” Mohammed could say that, through him, the final divine truth had been communicated to the world, but Jesus said, “I am the truth.” Confucius could maintain that he had discovered a new and uplifting form of life, but Jesus said, “I am the life.” And thus, we are either with Jesus or we are against him. No other founder forces that choice as clearly as Jesus does.

As pointed, a friend of mine describes the compelling choices as “liar, lunatic or Lord”

In these days of liminality between “safer-at-home” sheltering and a full open society, may we continue to choose the One who boldly claims “I am the way and the truth and the life” and look for no other, trusting to shows us the way through these times, engaged in the truth, and hopeful for the life that lies ahead and at the end of days.

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