Remember your last big trip? Traveling takes a lot of mental and physical energy. There is the journey itself, of course – the map and the means of moving and the money. There is also the “stuff” we have to keep track of constantly to make sure nothing is left behind or dropped along the way or lost in the shuffle – the reservations, payments, passports, toiletries, itinerary, keys, snacks, tickets, exchange rates, souvenirs. For some people, traveling is the greatest and most joyful adventure; for others, it is a cause of anxiety and worry! Some of us are willing to take it as it comes and hope for the best; others are meticulous planners with folders and spreadsheets and timelines; still others of us try to be one or the other, but fall somewhere in the middle.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is going somewhere. He tells the disciples he is going to prepare a dwelling place – a HOME – for them, and that he will come back again and take them there too! Where is this place? The Father’s house. That is our home.
And he reminds the disciples that they already know the way there.
Thomas speaks for all of us when he says, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” The Father’s house? Where is THAT? How can we get THERE? There is a place prepared for us there, but we’ve never seen it, so how can we find it?
Jesus tells us the “insider secret” to traveling to this final Home: HIMSELF. The route and the means and all that we need along the way are found in HIM: “I am the way,” and there is no other way. If we are at last to reach the Father and dwell in the Father’s house, we have to go through HIM.
So, if we know Jesus, we DO know the way, because he himself IS the way. Walking with him, we are walking along the right way. Walking with him, we will make it securely to our destination, and we don’t have to worry about seeing the full map or charting our own trajectory or losing anything important along the way. In fact, if we know Jesus and learn to walk with him in trust, this journey can be joyful and life-giving, even when we are traveling through deserts and briar patches and dark nights, because we know we are moving in the direction of HOME. And home is what all of our hearts long for, because home is where we are completely safe and secure, known for who we truly are, valued and loved wholly, and are able to live and love freely.
If we know Jesus, we can say confidently at the end of our lives, just as Pope St. John Paul II did: “Let me go to the house of the Father,” and enter into our Home, the fullness of God’s embrace, at last.
Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and four grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is www.KathrynTherese.com
Feature Image Credit: stevepb, https://pixabay.com/photos/road-direction-path-destination-1894938/