APRIL 26, 2002, HOMILY: ACTS 13-26- 39; JOHN 14:1-6
I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. Surely this is one of the most memorable of all the statements uttered by our Lord. No merely human person would dare to make such a claim; indeed, anyone who did so would certainly be thought to be out of his mind. The fuller meaning of this saying of our Lord is explained by the whole of his life, his teaching and his public ministry. Its veracity and reliability is authenticated by his resurrection and ascension into heaven.
The significance of this claim of our Lord reveals itself to us only gradually and to the extent that we strive to enter more fully into the attitudes that he sought to instill in his followers. Faith, and trust in his person, a willingness to serve our brothers and sisters, dedication to the common good and helpfulness to our neighbors, devotion to Gods glory as manifested in prayer and obedience- all these and associated practices and attitudes prepare us to contemplate with deeper penetration the fuller import of the fact that Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.
If our Lord so clearly and tellingly makes this affirmation surely it was because he wishes that we give ourselves over to discovering his integral identity in order that we might the better be able to abide in him. For to make him our very abode is to have the beginnings of true life and to possess the light and strength his presence and love impart. These words of his are a kind of summary of his role as Divine Wisdom incarnate. For Wisdom had spoken of herself as being the way to life and the revelation of truth that is life-giving at various places in the Old Testament. Come, eat of my bread, she invites, and drink of the wine I have mixed. Lay aside immaturity, and have life and walk in the way of insight (Proverbs. 9:5, 6).
In the Eucharist we are offered this bread of wisdom that imparts a life that is shared with the Lord of glory himself. By following the path he reveals to us by his self denial even unto death, we will arrive at the fullness of the truth which reflects that divine beauty for which our soul thirsts. Our Cistercian life represents for us this path , this way that is the following of Christ. For Jesus not only reveals this way to us, he accompanies us as we pursue the goal to which it leads, life everlasting in the kingdom of his Father and our Father.
Abbot John Eudes Bamberger
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