5th Sunday of Easter/Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic evokes fear, anxiety and a sense of insecurity, and it is a time of scarcity of essential commodities. Consequently, we have a tendency to lose our moral compass, to feed on what is false, and to adopt lifestyles that do not conform to the message of Jesus.
Today, people in the world are frantically searching for the right way, for the ultimate truth, and for an improved quality of life. Therefore, the three fundamental questions are: How can we move forward? How can we uphold truth and integrity? How can we improve the quality of life?
Then comes a man who has the gumption to declare himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus makes these claims and His credentials are not far-fetched: they are embedded in scriptures where His curriculum vitae is there for all to see. What is more, His message, His life and His works are clearly recorded in history. So, how is He the Way, Truth and Life?
The story of Adam and Eve traces the origin of how people lost their way in their spiritual journey. Jesus came not only to show humanity their way back to their Creator, but He became the way by making Himself visible. Jesus did not just preach the Word, but He was also the perfect leader and role model who perfectly translated His Word into His everyday life. In fact, His word was His bond, and He became the road map providing humanity with a new direction in the journey of life.
Often times, we lose a sense of direction in our life journey. At some point, the early Christian community lost their way and began to lose focus on the teaching of Jesus. The cankerworms of discrimination, partiality and injustice were beginning to creep into a united community where people lived with one heart and mind. The Hellenists brought complaints that they were neglected in the distribution (Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7). The Apostles resolved the emerging problems by allowing the multitude to choose from among themselves seven men of good repute, full of wisdom and of the Holy Spirit. These men (Deacons) were given the responsibility of reviving the sense of justice by making sure that everyone was given a fair treatment. Their main duty was to revive the spirit of community and give everyone a sense of belonging. In order to revive community spirit among the people, the seven Deacons were guided by the teaching of Jesus who is the way, truth and life. They returned to the teaching of Jesus about love and the spirit of service.
Jesus is truth personified and embodied. He is the ‘true truth’ because He is the incarnate word of God and the wisdom of God made visible to humanity. Jesus clearly defines His mission as one who has come to testify to the truth (John 18:37). His mission was to declare to humanity the hard, raw, inconvenient and Gospel truth about living the new life He offers. Therefore, Jesus asserts:
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
The human person constantly desires a good life, and so works constantly to improve the quality of life. However, we often have a narrow definition of a ‘good life’ when we think of it as success, material wealth and material prosperity. Jesus re-defines the good life and offers a new life to those who accept Him (John 3:3). It is this new life that the Prophet Ezekiel describes as a new heart and new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26, 27). St. Paul says those who adopt the new life become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Ultimately, Jesus demonstrates that life is a gift forever, and anyone who lives and believes in Him will enjoy eternal life and so death is not the end of the story, but the beginning of a new chapter in life.
In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, there are many false solutions that surround us. For example, some people have resorted to heavy drinking, arguing that drinking several bottles of alcohol is better than using alcohol-based sanitisers. Others have adopted new ways of life by being not only physically distant, but also emotionally distant from everyone and looking at every other person as a virus. Understandably, at this time, survival instinct and self-preservation are things that matter. However, the thing that matters more is having the right attitude. As followers of Jesus we need to adopt the attitude of trust in God, and an attitude of support and care to those who are economically and medically disadvantaged in this critical time.