Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
A university co-ed told her roommates in the middle of a blizzard that her father was coming to pick her up. “How could you be so sure?” the roommates marveled, “It’s impossible driving outside.” “Because he said so,” the young woman only replied. In the gospel today Jesus means to instill such confidence in his disciples.
The passage is taken from the beginning of the second part of John’s gospel, the so-called Book of Signs. Jesus is giving a kind of farewell speech to his disciples among whom we should see ourselves. He does not want us to worry that he is leaving or has left us. Rather, we should trust in him. “Why?” we may ask, with the same uncertainty as Thomas displays in the passage. He answers: because “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Jesus is the way, the one whose imitation will bring us to God. He is the truth whose words we can rely on because he knows the Father. And he is the life of which we partake in the Eucharist for strength on the journey.
We sometimes find ourselves in bleak situations. Perhaps we face job termination, mortgage foreclosure, or even terminal disease. We are not to cower but to be confident. Jesus sublimely demonstrates this trust on the cross. In John’s crucifixion Jesus reigns like a king over his court. He has drawn the whole world – friends, foes, even the Roman governor to the scene. He completes his work on earth by instituting the church with his mother and beloved disciple. And he dies when he is ready. We can face our trials with the same tranquility of spirit.