Jesus Is Our Way, Our Truth and Our Life.
5th Sunday of Easter, Year A
Nearly three-quarters of the nation's 103.4 million women aged 15 and older are mothers. 23% have one child; 35% have two; 21% have three; 21% have four or more. Mother's Day trounces poor Father's Day by a long shot. Hallmark estimates that 150 million Mother's Day cards will be sent this year (but only 95 million Father's Day cards), making Mother's Day the third largest greeting card holiday of the year. U.S. Americans spend an average of $105 on Mother's Day gifts, $90 on Father's Day gifts. The phone rings more often on Mother's Day than Father's Day. (Business Week survey, as reported in "Happy Mother's Day," The Boomer Report, May 1998, 3.) The busiest day of the year at car washes? The Saturday before Mother's Day. What Mom thinks still matters. Even if it is a fallacy, we do like to think of Mother's Day as "Mom's day off." Usually this takes the form of dining out for one of the three meals. Making her breakfast in bed. Maybe doing some of the more odious chores that have stacked up like cordwood around the house.
This economic reality on Mother’s Day may not hold true today given the pandemic as we are still sheltering in place. Moms during the pandemic, perhaps, have been busier than ever before at home taking care of their children, home schooling and feeding them each day. I can’t imagine their worries, anxieties, stresses and emotional struggles facing a very bleak future.
Reality Check: It’s not just mothers! Most people, if not all, do not seem to run out of worries and anxieties. With what’s happening around us, we cannot but worry. We cannot but be anxious about what the future holds. Will I still be able to travel again? Will I still be able to reach my goal of financial stability after 5 years or so? Will there be enough food at table tomorrow? Will this pandemic ever end? Part of our human struggle and goal is to secure our future and so worry about how it’s going to be for us.
Jesus’ disciples had the same issue as narrated in the Gospel. Thomas asked Jesus as to how they can know the way and Philip asked Him to show them the Father for eternal life. Patiently, Jesus answered them by drawing them to Himself saying: “I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.” How should we understand these very words coming from Jesus?
Jesus is the WAY. As the way, Jesus exemplifies the thought of last week’s Gospel about the Good Shepherd. He leads us to the right path to the Father. Our full trust connects us to Him; as “sheep” we try to recognize His voice to follow Him. We are not thieves or robbers who do not pass by the gate, but we are, in fact, one of His own. It is our well-being that He is after and protects us from any form of harm.
I read something recently about actor Kirk Douglas (Michael Douglas’ father). Douglas, for years one of Hollywood's most prominent stars, remembers his mother as a woman, who overflowed with encouragement for her children. When he was in his mother's presence, Kirk never doubted that he was special and beloved. He recalls a visit he made to his mother's house not long after his first big movie came out. Kirk's mother had invited all her friends over to meet him. When she introduced Kirk, she announced, "This is my son. The earth trembles when they mention his name." [Kirk Douglas, My Stroke of Luck (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), p. 124.]
Now that's a proud mother! Well, that is how God is to us being THE WAY. He is the first one to love, to believe and to encourage us. I feel for children brought up by negative parents--critical, demanding, quick to admonish, slow to praise. I see people every day who are scarred by parents who could give them everything except what they needed most--unconditional love and acceptance. Jesus is our way to the Father and to make that possible, He gives Himself totally to us like the Good Shepherd.
Jesus is the TRUTH. The basic truth is often blinded by layers and layers of unnecessary concerns. Jesus was telling His disciples to always search for the truth as to what essentially matters in life. We should always work for the truth. To seek for Jesus and surely, this will lessen our worries in life.
A conspiracy theory tells us that the COVID-19 virus was scientifically made from a lab in Wuhan. From being newsworthy, it turned to become a cause for fear and anxiety. Some people would even call it an apocalyptic event. But is this really the truth? We can only make a wild guess until proven otherwise. Few Sundays ago, Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples through the breaking of the Word and the breaking of the Bread. He was telling His disciples that only through His Word and the Bread Life can we find the truth. Only through Him can we find confidence and prepare us for what is to come with hope in our hearts. Only in Christ can truth be found.
Jesus is the LIFE. The Season of Easter reminds us that the cross is not the end of our journey but part of our lives. It is not the end because the tomb was found empty. Our crosses, therefore, are marks of a new perspective and new life. It is not the end but a beginning that could bring us new life. As is it said, “Always believe in happy endings.” If it is not happy, then it is not yet ending! Here's beautiful quote for mothers as strong women:
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape,
but a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape.
A strong woman isn't afraid of anything,
but a woman of strength shows her courage in the midst of fear.
A strong woman won't let anyone get the best of her,
but a woman of strength gives the best of her to everyone.
A strong woman walks sure-footedly,
but a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls.
A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face,
but a woman of strength wears grace.
A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey,
but a woman of strength has Faith that in the journey she will become strong.
This poem highlights that Jesus indeed is our life. We can become a man/woman of strength if we hold on to Him in faith. There is nothing for us to fear. In times of worries, let us remember Jesus who is our way, our truth and our life. In those times, let us be filled with Christ’s assurance that all will be well. Together with such assurance we pray, “Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you!”
To end, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all mothers today as we give them on this very special day. Always remember that, “ A world without mothers is a world without children. A world without children is a world without peace. A world without peace is a world without love. Thank God for mothers, for making this world, truly a better place to live in!” God bless us all.