Homily by Archbishop Charles Jude Scicluna
“I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life” (Jn 14:6). Jesus responds to the insistent question of Thomas who wants to know the way and he asks Jesus: “Master, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (Jn 14:5). The answer Jesus gives is an important one and a solemn one. The way, the truth and the life he proposes are not a set of rules, they are not a philosophy, they are not a set of ideas. They are a person, himself. “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life”. We do not believe in a philosophy. We trust in a person. And our faith is a response in love to so much love we have received.
At this ancient shrine in the Maltese Islands the ancient image of Our Lady painted on the rock, on the limestone is of Our Lady showing her child. In the tradition of the ancient oriental churches, the title of this image is hodigitria – Our Lady showing the way and she is pointing to her Son. Her son Jesus is the way. The way is a person, the Word of God made flesh, Jesus of Nazareth. He gives his life to us so that we may learn from him that our response in faith needs to be a concrete response in love.
We trust in a person. And our faith is a response in love to so much love we have received.
When we think of our mothers today, from this shrine dedicated to the Mother of the Lord – Mater Dei that is what we have and we can see next to our Lady on this ancient image the words in Latin Mater Dei, the Mother of Our Lord, the Mother of God. From this shrine we think of our mothers and we realise that we have learnt the way, we have learnt wisdom about life, we have also received the gift of life from a person. And it is important that we care for our mothers and we pray for them especially those who are not with us anymore, and we care for them.
In this time of pandemic I would like to greet all our mothers and tell them that we care for them and we know that the more important thing as we live through the pandemic is that we keep them safe. And so we may have to distance ourselves from you today, probably not visit you as much as we want to, but please understand that we are with you, we are thinking of you, we are grateful for the gift of life we received through you, for the truth of faith that you have given us, you have shown us the way who is Jesus. The Lord opens each and every one’s destiny to the dwelling places where he is going after the resurrection and he is preparing a place for each and every one of us. “I will come back again and take you to myself so that where I am, you also may be” (Jn 14:3).
He knows that we are sinful, that we are weak but he still is convinced that our rightful place is with him and he is preparing a place for us. How do we get there? How do I know the way? Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
On this fifth Sunday of Easter we need to hear these words and understand that these extraordinary times need to bring us to a renewed wisdom. They need to open our lives to an everlasting destiny which is the dwelling place Jesus is preparing for each and every one of us. Let us accept his invitation. He knows that we are sinful, that we are weak but he still is convinced that our rightful place is with him and he is preparing a place for us. How do we get there? How do I know the way? Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
✠ Charles Jude Scicluna
Archbishop of Malta
First Reading: Acts 6:1-7
Psalm: 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
Second Reading: 1 Pt 2:4-9
Gospel: Jn 14:1-12