The Fifth of Easter
May 14, 2017  
Fr. José Maria Alvim Cortes, F.S.C.B.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

“Do not let your hearts be troubled” (Jn 14:1).

Jesus was leaving. He was going to be separated from his friends. It was a very emotional moment. Jesus tries to comfort them by saying that he will prepare a place at his Father’s house, where they will be together again.

However, the disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying. Jesus was trying to say something very important and the disciples did not understand anything. Jesus was talking about eternal life and the Apostles were thinking about earthly life: “Thomas said to him, ‘Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?’” (Jn 14:5).

For us, too, it is not easy to understand the words of the faith. Nowadays, the secular mentality makes it hard to understand Jesus’ words. The words of the faith seem far away from the experiences of every day. Words like heaven, salvation, grace etc. are very distant from our day-to-day interests and concerns.

What could conquer this distance between the words of the faith and our experience?

Jesus says: “You know the way” (Jn 14:4). For the Apostles, the way was this man, it was their friend. Friendship with Christ was the way. For the Apostles, the way to understand who Jesus is was a matter of being faithful to their friendship with him.

Likewise, today we need to see the Church as a place where we can experience friendship, communion. There we can understand the meaning of Jesus’ words and be helped to find the connection between faith and life.

“I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6).

We live in a world where there are many ways, truths and lives. The statement that there is only one way, one truth and one life seems strange to us. Relativism asserts that everything is the same.

Pope Benedict XVI says: “We are building a dictatorship of relativism” (Homily, St. Peter’s Basilica, April 18, 2005).[1] Relativism insists that morality, cultures and beliefs are all of equal value, meaning and worth. It asserts that what is true for one person might not be true for another, and each person can decide for himself what is true, good and right. Popular expressions of relativism include comments such as the following: “This is true for me—and so I believe it” and “What’s right for you might not be right for me.”

Without truth, we are slaves of ourselves and dominated by the prevailing mentality. Jesus says in Saint John’s Gospel: “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:32). We need to know the truth. For us, the truth is not abstract knowledge. The truth is a person: Jesus Christ.

I always remember what Pope Benedict says in his first encyclical letter, Deus Caritas Est: “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”[2]

We ask Our Lady to obtain for us the grace of living the Church as the place where we can have the amazing experience of encountering Jesus Christ: our way, truth and life.  Amen.

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