May 14 – Fifth Sunday of Easter
“You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
If you’ve ever wanted a scripture text to make you feel superior about being a Christian, we have it today. If you’ve ever wanted a text with which to hit your unbelieving friends over the head, or that will help you make a few of your friends who are part of other religions feel bad, here is what Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” One could argue that outside Christ there is no salvation. So what becomes of those who do not believe in Jesus as the Savior of the world?
Another thing to consider; Do you believe that you are saved? Hopefully the answer to this is “Yes.” We are saved by the grace of our baptism, and continue to be saved by God’s grace and mercy as we freely choose to follow Him. We hope to be saved at the final hour so as to enter the glories of Heaven. This gives meaning to our life.
Through the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ we gain our salvation, because he is our only way to the Father. There is no other way we obtain salvation except through Him. Every prayer during the Mass that we offer is “through Christ our Lord.”
Do you want to get to heaven? Christ is the way. Do you struggle with life? Christ is the life. Are you tired of the lies going around? Christ is the Truth. So do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in Jesus. In the Father’s house there are many dwelling places and there is a place prepared for each one of us. It remains our choice to take the Way that leads to Life or take a path that leads to a dead end.
How about the good deeds we do? Are they not enough to convince God to allow me into heaven? Thinking that we achieve salvation by simply being “good” and that my “good deeds” will save me is deceiving myself. Our good deeds done outside Jesus profit nothing; works must done in union with Christ to be beneficial. We know Jesus never proclaimed the Gospel without signs seen in His miracles and exorcisms. Of course then our faith is proved by our deeds. But without Jesus we can do nothing good. However, if we have accepted Christ into our lives and are thus on the road to salvation, then good works will be necessarily present in our lives. But always remember that Jesus and Jesus alone is the only Savior. We cannot save ourselves no matter how hard we try to “be good.”
The First Reading today, from Acts of the Apostles, depicts a moment in the life of the early Church responding to practical needs of the poor as people of faith. St. James also in his letter makes it clear that faith without good works is dead. And until the people experience the love of God in deeds, they will not be ready to hear the Word of God because they would just be nice words.
The Second Reading, from the First Letter of Peter, depicts our identity as Easter people and encourages us to be aware of our responsibility as “living stones,” with Christ as cornerstone, to form a “spiritual building.” The rich images that we hear in this reading present our dignity as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own” to sing his praises.
So Jesus alone must be the central focus of our lives and we must see Him as the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the only Way to heaven, He is the fullness of the Truth we must believe. He is the Life that we are called to live and is the source of this new life of grace. Reflect today upon the central and singular role of Jesus in your life. Without Him you are nothing, but with Him you obtain the life of perfect fulfillment. Humbly admit that you are nothing without Him and let Him into your life so that He can offer you to His loving Father in Heaven.