Today’s Gospel invites us to feel consoled in Jesus Christ. We are led by Thomas’ question of Jesus to guard our hearts against any and all concerns. Thomas questioned Jesus by a simple statement, “we do not know the way to you; how can we find the way?” Again, his declaration in the presence of Jesus and Jesus answers him; “I am the way and the truth and the life” invites us to ponder deeply our call to follow Jesus Christ. Using a motif found only in the Gospel of John, “I AM” echoes back to Moses’ encounter with the burning bush in Exodus. It is a scene where God interrupts Moses during his work as a shepherd. God has a plan to free his Chosen People from slavery and he has chosen Moses(and equipped him) to liberate Israel. When Moses questions God on what name shall he tell the people who is sending him? God answered, “I AM” these words have been roughly explained by Scripture scholars as, “I am who am” (Exodus chapter 3). These thoughts lead the Apostle Paul to declare, “Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). In other words, Jesus is unchangeable. We can put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ and be consoled.
When we hear these declarative sentences proclaimed in our Gospel today, we are to understand that God is always present and unchangeable. While our world is always in a constant flux, we are to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. This is our invitation today—our statement of faith. Jesus is giving us some strong advice. If we are concerned about our life, we have only to look to Jesus to find consolation. Jesus desires that we do not have troubled hearts.
Our first reading from the Book of Acts suggests exactly why Jesus is deserving of our trust. The story of salvation, what more can we add? In the Easter Season, we are treated to the reading from Acts of the Apostles. The story of Jesus’ salvation has been told and re-told for the past two millennium and we never get tired of the radical sacrifices offered forward by the early church. Led by the Holy Spirit, we can wonder at the radical nature of love. So, we turn and offer praise to our God. This praise is offered over and over again by our attitude of surrender in faith to Jesus as we allow ourselves to be consoled. Jesus has this care or concern already in his sight.
May we trust in our Lord, Jesus, to be present and heal us and our troubled world. Amen.
Jean Bowler is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California, and a member of the Office of Mission Effectiveness Board of Holy Cross Province.