Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
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.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
“A father and son went fishing one day. While they were out in the boat, the boy suddenly became curious about the world around him. He asked his father, “How does this boat float?” The father replied, “Don’t rightly know, son.”
A little later, the boy looked at his father and asked, “How do fish breath underwater?”
Once again, the father replied, “Don’t rightly know, son.”
A little later the boy asked his father, “Why is the sky blue?” Again, the father replied. “Don’t rightly know, son.”
Finally, the boy asked his father, “Dad, do you mind my asking you all of these questions?”
The father replied, “Of course not. If you don’t ask questions, you never learn nothin’.”
Some of the disciples, like Thomas, never really understood the message Christ was trying to convey to people. So, Thomas asked a lot of questions.
Christ told them to follow the Way. Thomas asked, “Where is the way?” Jesus then told him that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Thomas was thinking of a physical road or trail to someplace. Christ then explained to him that He was the Way–He had the way to happiness, salvation, and eternal life, not to a physical place. That is why the first disciples did not call themselves “Christians” but followers of the Way; that is, the followers of Christ’s message.
Then Christ tells him that whoever believes in Him will do the works that Christ does. He healed the sick and dying, was compassionate toward all, including those who hated Him. He loved his enemies and did good to them. He did good even to the people who put him through a lot of suffering and who eventually killed him. He did all this because he knew that doing all this would bring all great happiness. That is why he wants us to follow His Way. So, when we decide to act, we always ask ourselves, what would Christ do? The U.S. spends approximately $250 billion each year maintaining its global military presence of nearly a thousand military bases in 45 countries and territories. The sole purpose of this is to give us hegemony — that is, control or dominance — over as many nations on the planet as possible. Here’s a startling statistic: since the beginning of the global pandemic, the Pentagon has received $80 million an hour from our tax dollars to destroy the enemy while hospitals beg for basic life saving tools. Is this an example of Christ’s way?
Early in the pandemic, the Australian journalist John Pilger reminded the world of ANOTHER pandemic. A pandemic has been declared, but not for the 24,600 who die every day from unnecessary starvation, and not for 3,000 children who die every day from preventable malaria, and not for the 10,000 people who die every day because they are denied public-funded healthcare, and not for the hundreds of Venezuelans and Iranians who die every day because America’s blockade denies them life-saving medicines, and not for the hundreds of mostly children bombed or starved to death every day in Yemen, in a war supplied and kept going by America and Britain.
What would Christ do? What are we doing about this? Like Christ, we must stand up and try to stop this way of thinking and acting and start acting like Christ, following the Way.
On Mother’s Day 2020, I close with a poem by Julia Ward Howe:
Arise then…women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts! Whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, For caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, Will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
. . . . Let women now leave all that may be left of home For a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace. . . .
Don Timmerman is a long-time peace activist, practitioner of non-violence, and a member of the Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever