HOMILY FOR FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (A)


Just over 60 years ago Frank Sinatra recorded a song that was to be come his signature tune….. with the very simple title “MY WAY”.

If Jesus was seeking an anthem to launch today’s Gospel and His ministry, He would most likely choose the same song and He would certainly agree with the last line . With the music reaching a deafening crescendo, Sinatra belts out the words “I DID IT MY MAY”

Jesus made 7 famous ‘I AM” statements during His short preaching life- they revealed His ministry/who He was and what He was about.

I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

I AM THE GATE OF THE SHEEPFOLD

I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD

I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

I AM THE VINE

And the 7th one today neatly ties them all up when He says

I AM THE WAY ,THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.

Our lives on earth are book-ended by birth and death. The two dates are separated by a DASH. That DASH represents the journey of life. It is not laid out before us; it is created by every step we take, every decision we make. Choices are a daily challenge. Getting lost is always a possibility; it is very likely to happen if we don’t know where we are going.

Thomas asked Jesus “HOW CAN WE KNOW THE WAY?”.

In answering Jesus didn’t say “I KNOW THE WAY” or “I WILL SHOW THE WAY” or “ I HAVE A WAY”. He said very clearly “I AM THE WAY”. He further emphasises the fact by adding “NO ONE CAN COME TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.”

Only when we are united with HIM can we reach our destination which is union with the Father in heaven. Our God is not the distant, impersonal god of the Greeks. Our God has made Himself known in the person of Jesus. “IF YOU KNOW ME YOU KNOW THE FATHER TOO”

Personal friendship with Jesus in life means we make the journey with Him ,Who will guide us to our true destination – the true purpose of life – eternal life .

James Thurber, an American writer said:

“ALL MEN SHOULD LEARN BEFORE THEY DIE

WHERE THEY ARE GOING TO, FROM WHERE AND WHY”

JESUS IS THE TRUTH. He speaks only the truth. Pilate asked Him ‘WHAT IS TRUTH” For us it is not some abstract notion. It is not a theory. It is a person- truth living in the person of Jesus. He is the full truth about God and about humanity. God used Jesus to reveal

Himself to us .

JESUS IS THE LIFE. St. John began his Gospel with the statement:

“ALL CAME TO LIFE THROUGH HIM” That is the basis for our strong belief that all human life is sacred from conception to death and beyond.

Our lives from birth to death – the DASH- will only be fully lived if we live them with Him- with minds like His, hearts like His, words like His, actions like His. Life is His gift. Living it fully shows gratitude to the giver. God’s glory is shown in the human being fully alive. That answers the three life questions posed by Thurber above:-

FROM WHERE?, WHERE TO? And WHY?

It is not all plain sailing. He didn’t give all the answers. He looks to our faith in difficult times that we will make choices in line with His teaching.

Sinatra’s song details a life of good and bad decisions, the regrets, laughs, tears, losses, doubts – mirroring our own lives.

But in the end faithful to his beliefs and principles:-

“ FOR WHAT IS A MAN, WHAT HAS HE GOT,

IF NOT HIMSELF, THEN HE HAS NAUGHT,

NOT TO SAY THE THINGS HE TRULY FEELS

AND NOT THE WORDS OF ONE WHO KNEELS.

THE RECORD SHOWS I TOOK THE BLOWS

AND DID IT MY WAY.

MAY OUR WAY BE HIS (JESUS’) WAY

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