Fr. Joel Liwanag, SJ
5th Sunday of Easter
May 14, 2017
Among the many emotional needs of human beings, one of the most fundamental is the need to belong. As persons, we inherently desire to be part of something larger than ourselves.
We first experience this in the womb of our mothers, our home for nine months. There we have our first taste of being cared for, of being totally dependent on someone. When we are born into the world, our family becomes our home. In the family, we experience what it means to belong, to be loved, to be accepted for who we are. As we grow older, our home expands to include the different groups we belong to. We find home among our friends, among our peers, among people who welcome us into their lives.
Despite these many experiences of home, however, we seem to remain unsettled. We continue to long for a deeper experience of home. Try to examine your life and ask yourself, “Is this true? Is there something in me still hungering for home?”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us, “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?” He seems to be reminding us that, ultimately, God is our home. We belong to Him and we will only be truly home when we are with Him, when we are in Him. St. Augustine puts it beautifully when he writes, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
The problem is that for many of us, this journey home to God is one marked by pitstops and detours. It is seldom a straight path. More often than not, it is a long and winding road. Our sinful pursuits fool us into believing that we can find home somewhere else. Because of this, we lose our way and we become confused. We end up not knowing where to go. This confusion is articulated by Thomas when he tells Jesus, “Lord, we do not know the way.”
Do you share in the helplessness of Thomas? Do you also feel that you need guidance from the Lord? If you do, then listen to Jesus’ response: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If you feel lost, not knowing which path to take, overwhelmed by the many voices of the world calling you to different directions, then find comfort in Jesus who is the Way. Walk in His path. He is the Way who leads you home to the Father.
If you feel confused, unsure about what to believe in, especially in our world where false news and so-called alternative facts are being strategically peddled, then find assurance in Jesus who is the Truth. Believe in Him. He is the Truth who reveals who the Father is.
If you feel tired and weary, drained by the culture of death that pervades many parts of our world today, then find strength in Jesus who is the Life. Be nourished by His presence. He is the Life who allows you to live in the Father.
Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life has promised to bring us home. As he assures us in today’s Gospel, “I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” The question, however, is, “Do we want to go home?” Jesus can only bring us home if we allow Him to do so. He invites us, but He does not force us. In the end, we have to make a decision. I invite you, then, to listen to your heart and ask yourself, “What is my decision? Where do I really want to go?”
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