Saint for the day Louis M. Grignion de montfort (January 31, 1673 – April 28, 1716)
Acts 13: 26-33 – Ps. 2:6 – 11 – John 14:1-6
“Jesus said to [Thomas] ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
The quote, above is the second-to-the last of the eight “I Am” statements that Jesus proclaims in the Gospel of John. It might be good for you to do some homework and see if you know all of them. In the meantime, I’ll check out to be sure if this is the last time that Jesus proclaims, “I am …” in the Holy Gospels. If you get stuck, you can “click” this “link” to get the answer. Meanwhile, the Church continues a kind of parallel journey through the Holy Scriptures on our way to the Feast of Pentecost. In the Holy Gospels in these times we are hearing of the final days when Jesus is still with His disciples. But our first scripture from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles relates how the disciples, now filled with the Holy Spirit, boldly go out preaching that Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy. And, it’s important to notice that they still very much consider themselves faithful Jews and do most of their preaching in the synagogues. Recently, I was the one who did the second reading for our early-morning prayer. It was a letter from St. John Chrysostom, and the comment that caught my attention was that the criteria for selecting a replacement for Judas had to be someone who had witnessed the Resurrection. In fact it was said that it wasn’t enough to have seen all the miracles and wonder-works of Jesus if one hadn’t been an eyewitness to the Resurrection.
That got me thinking about my own following of Jesus and how I relate that to my life and His teachings. In the early days of the Charismatic movement – back in the late 60’s – there was a lot of focus on “miracles” and other signs of the presence of the Holy Sprit in one’s life. Everybody had to have the “gift of speaking in tongues” as if that was the penultimate gift of God. That reading from Morning Prayer, however, put the main focus on the belief in the Resurrection and not on miracles. In fact, in these days we’ve been hearing Holy Gospels that tell us – again – that the most important part of following Jesus is service: starting at the bottom by washing feet! I know it sounds silly but if we don’t begin with the basics of Jesus’ teaching, when we get up to the head, we won’t have any credibility or anything important to preach. We’ll just be like a clanging gong.
Maybe our prayer for today should be one that makes us more and more aware of the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection and what that brings to our Journey to the Kingdom. After all, even Lazarus must have died again since he’s not around … as far as I know. Jesus’ Resurrection opened the Gates of Heaven for us and that’s the more important reality than all the miracles put together. Amen.