Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
(Acts 13:26-33; John 14:1-6)
A university co-ed tells her roommates in the middle of a blizzard that her father is coming to pick her up. “How can you be so sure he will get here?” the roommates ask. They add, “It’s impossible driving outside.” “Because I am his favorite daughter,” the young woman replies. 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 Glory. Jesus gives a long farewell speech to his disciples among whom we should see ourselves. He does not want us to worry because he is leaving us. Rather, he assures us that things are better this way. “Why?” we may ask, with the same uncertainty as Thomas displays in the passage. He answers because he is “the way and the truth and the life.” Jesus is the way, the one who leads us to God. He is the truth whose directions we can utterly rely on because he comes from 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 does not suffer but reigns when he is crucified. As he predicted, he has drawn the whole world – friends, foes, even the Roman governor to the scene. He completes his work on earth by forming the Church -- his family of brothers and sisters – when he entrusts his mother to his beloved disciple and him to her. And he dies only when he is ready, after everything has been accomplished. Believing in him, we can face our trials with the same surety of spirit.