In reflecting on today’s gospel, the late Passionist priest and renowned scripture scholar, Carroll Stuhlmueller, wrote: “We are always on the way, seeking and looking beyond where we are, following a hope.” Fr. Stuhlmueller reminds us that to be human is to be on a journey. We are not idle tourists, flitting from one thing to the next, unsure of who we are or where we are headed, but pilgrims “following a hope,” men and women seeking the fullness of life with God. In perhaps the most trustworthy words in the gospel, Jesus says to every one of us: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” There are many possible paths we could pursue, many ways we could wander, but if we follow Christ we will not be deceived, and we will not be disappointed because Jesus is both the end of our journey and the way to that end. By walking with him—learning from him and doing our best to imitate his attitudes and his actions—we shall reach the end for which we hope. In fact, if we live both with and in Christ, we are already experiencing something of the joy that awaits us.
If the gospel shows us the path we must follow to the fullness of life, the passage from Acts tells us that as we make our way we should share with others the hope that inspires and guides our lives. We do that by seizing every opportunity to witness Christ every day. Paul tells those assembled in the synagogue in Antioch in Pisidia that he is “proclaiming this good news to you.” Like Paul, we know the good news that has come to us in Christ, the good news of God’s infinite love, mercy, and compassion. We are not to hoard this gospel of life but pass it on. The best way to do so is to live as Jesus did by seeking justice and peace, and by being sacraments of God’s love, mercy, and compassion to every person we encounter.
Paul J. Wadell is Professor Emeritus of Theology & Religious Studies at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, and a member of the extended Passionist family.