Today’s Gospel reading from John has a very provocative statement by Jesus: “I AM the Way. I AM Truth and Life.” Unfortunately, many people incorrectly interpret this in an exclusivist manner. As the Irish Jesuits explain:
“This is not to be understood in a narrow sectarian sense. The way of life that Jesus proposes is not just for a particular group of people; it is a way of life for every single person to follow. The heart of that Way is an unconditional love which sees every other person as a brother or sister and a love which gives itself unceasingly in service.
If we want to know where our lives, where any life, should be going, all we need to do is to identify ourselves totally with the attitudes, the values and the goals of life that Jesus lays down for us.
And, as the Way, he is Truth and Life. Jesus is Truth not just because the things he says are true. His whole life, everything he says and does, all his relationships, have the ring of truth and integrity.”
We live in a special time. The scientific advances of the past century have helped expand our understanding of the universe and ultimate reality. We know that the physical universe is approximately 14 billion years old. Christians believe that the Big Bang was the first act of the incarnation. Prior to the Big Bang, there existed a trinitarian God, of which one person was the Logos, the eternal Word or knowledge of Greek philosophy. This Logos has been pulling the universe toward it since creation, reaching its most intimate point through the incarnation and life of Jesus of Nazareth. The risen Christ Logos continues to live, pulling all of creation towards him. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said shortly before he became Pope Benedict XVI:
“Christianity must always remember that it is the religion of the “Logos.” It is faith in the “Creator Spiritus,” (Creator Spirit), from which proceeds everything that exists. Today, this should be precisely its philosophical strength. . . Only creative reason, which in the crucified God is manifested as love, can really show us the way. In the so necessary dialogue between secularists and [Christians], we Christians must be very careful to remain faithful to this fundamental line: to live a faith that comes from the “Logos,” from creative reason, and that, because of this, is also open to all that is truly rational.”
Going back to today’s Gospel passage, the Logos is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus exemplified this in the ideal manner of self-giving love, both during his lifetime on Earth and through the ongoing attraction of the Cosmic Christ.
May God grant me the strength to look beyond my own ego and selfishness and follow the Way of unselfish love and service to God, humanity and all of God’s creation.