Thursday, May 07, 2009

How Can We Know the Way?

May 8, 2009

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

By Melanie Rigney

“…(W)hat God promised our ancestors he has brought to fulfillment for us, by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my son; this day I have begotten you.’” (Acts 13:32-33)

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord, who said to me, “You are my son; today I am your father. Only ask it of me, and I will make your inheritance the nations, your possessions the ends of the earth.” (Psalms 2:7-8)

(Jesus told the apostles at the Last Supper,) “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where (I) am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:3-6)


Take my hand, Jesus. Be my friend. Shine your light. Be my path to the Father.


It’s happened to all of us. Someone in group reunion says something that sets everyone else to nodding solemnly—and you have no clue what was so profound about the observation.

Or maybe you had no idea what the homily meant, only to hear person after person compliment the priest as they’re leaving after Mass: “That really resonated with me!” “It was your best yet.” “I love the way you think.”

Why don’t we ask for an explanation? Maybe it starts when we’re toddlers and our parents tire of hearing “Why?” “Because I’m the mother,” we hear. “Because I said so.” “Just because.” When we’re a little older and don’t get the joke, our friends laugh at us, call us naive or stupid or worse. And so, many of us learn not to ask, just follow the group’s cues.

Appreciate, then, the bravery of Thomas in today’s Gospel reading. Jesus has a way of telling beautiful stories in parable form, of speaking in broad, soaring phrases. Think about it: What in the world does that mean?

“Where I am going you know the way.”

Can’t you just see the others nodding, but having no clue what Jesus is saying? Thomas cocks his head and summons the courage to ask what he means, and Jesus comes back with a simple, soul-stopping explanation: “I am the way.”

Aren’t you glad Thomas asked? Think about that next time you’re puzzled by a statement like “We are a resurrection people” or “I hope for heaven.” The more we open ourselves to learning, the closer we come to the Way.


Just for one day, ask the questions you’re usually too embarrassed to ask at home, in church, at work, and at play. Reticence is not a virtue.

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