As Jesus prepares to leave his disciples, he offers them words of reassurance, words which emphasise that in him truth and life are to be found. Fr Adrian Graffy reflects.
1 Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me. 2 There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am now going to prepare a place for you, 3 and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.’
5 Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ 6 Jesus said: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.’
8 Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’ 9 ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him, ‘and you still do not know me? To have seen me is to have seen the Father, so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work. 11 You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason. 12 I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself; he will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.’
Other readings: Acts 6:1-7 Psalm 32 (33) 1 Peter 2:4-9
The account of the last evening of Jesus with his disciples in the Gospel of John includes several speeches, punctuated from time to time by interventions of the disciples. It is most appropriate that these passages are read during the second half of the Easter season as we approach the feast of the Ascension and the return of Jesus to the Father. Jesus’ first words in today’s passage are words of reassurance which contrast strongly with his earlier prediction of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial.
Thomas asks about the way to the place where Jesus is going. ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,’ says Jesus. The words of Jesus in John’s gospel constantly underline that in him truth and life are to be found. Philip, on the other hand, is impatient to see the Father. Jesus’ reply echoes the constant teaching of this gospel that ‘the only Son has made God known’ (John 1:18). Both the answer to our searching and the satisfaction of our longing are found in Christ. To know Jesus is to know the Father. To see Jesus is to see the Father.
Do I recognise Jesus as the Way or do I reduce him to a talented prophet and healer?
How often do I give in to despondency and anxiety?
Pray for a deeper faith in the person of Jesus, our Lord and our God.
Pray for confidence in the continuing presence of Jesus in his Church.
Rev Dr Adrian Graffy is a member of the Vatican Commission that takes a lead in Bible scholarship, interpretation and promotion in the Catholic Church.
Rev Dr Graffy said of his five-year appointment by Pope Francis in 2014: “It is an honour to be nominated by Pope Francis as a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. I feel humbled and very much look forward to being of service to His Holiness and the Church.”
He added: “A great deal has been achieved in England and Wales in recent years by many co-workers to advance Biblical scholarship and the provision of easy-to-use resources. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them and the Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis for their efforts to promote understanding and love of the Bible, particularly through the publication of the teaching documents, The Gift of Scripture and the study guide to Verbum Domini, The Word of the Lord.”
Rev Dr Graffy received his doctorate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 1983. He taught for over 20 years in St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, and is Chair of the National Scripture Working Group, which is an instrument of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Fr Graffy is a past director of Brentwood’s Commission for Evangelisation and Formation and parish priest of Christ the Eternal High Priest in Gidea Park, Essex. Among his publications are the Gospel of Mark and the Letter to the Romans (Alive Publishing).
Listen to BBC Essex interview with Fr Adrian Graffy