“Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in me! In my Father’s house there are many rooms; otherwise, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to me, so that where I am, you also may be. Yet you know the way where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.
In today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus make a strange statement: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.”
This statement means that, of the hundreds of billions of humans who lived, are living, and will live on this planet Earth, not one of them will ultimately find God in Heaven (“come to the Father”) without passing through Jesus. Why is this statement strange? Because it presupposes that the great majority of humans (think of all the people who lived and died before Christ came among us, as also of all the people who, even after the Incarnation, never heard of Jesus and lived completely pagan lives) will be saved (i.e. reach the Father in an eternity of bliss) only through the action of Jesus. Now as Christians we understand how this works out for us because we have the figure of Christ constantly under our eyes, as it were. But what about Muslims and Animists and Hindus and agnostics and atheists? Jesus tells us that somehow he reaches all of them. How? By silently speaking to their conscience. Vatican II tells us that “conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God” (GS 16).
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