Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”
At the beginning of today’s Gospel passage, Christ blesses his Disciples with a blessing of peace: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Peaceful hearts, untroubled hearts, are the hearts of those who do not put their trust in themselves, but surrender to the God who created them and know His plans for them. Since peace and love go hand in hand, we can say that one of the ways that others will know we are Christians is by our peace of heart. And what if, today, we notice that we are not filled with peace of heart? In all honesty, from the human heart writing this reflection to every human heart which reads or listens to it, we all sometimes experience the temptation to lose our peace. But we do not let this trouble us because, again, Christ says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Instead, we return to the Lord, the shelter and guardian of our souls; there, we will find peace.
I believe this is what Jesus expressed to His Disciples later on in today’s Gospel. When he begins to speak about the place to which He is going, and the way to that place, Thomas expresses a very relatable set of stressed-out questions: “We do not even know where you are going, Lord. How can we know the way?” I can imagine Thomas secretly thinking, “Was I supposed to know where He is going?” “Is He leaving us, and will it be soon?” Jesus does not answer him on the same plane as his questions. As He so often does, Jesus moves deeper, and his response quells every fear: “I am the Way.” Jesus’ response moves us to set aside our need for planning and control. It is a totally sure path and yet it is only a lamp unto our feet. We do not need to know everything about the plan; we do not need to know several steps ahead. In each moment, we just need to return to Christ – with a deep breath, with a whisper of His name, by recalling His Truth, by repenting of sin. This treasure, this return of the heart to Christ, is our Way.
I am comforted by remembering all of the feet that have tread on this Way before us: the saints through the centuries who have worn down the path so as to make it clear for us. I will leave you with these words of St. Clare, exhorting all of us to follow in the Way that is Christ, with faith and peace in our hearts. She says,
What you hold, may you always hold. What you do, may you always do and never abandon. But with swift pace, light step, and unswerving feet, so that even your steps stir up no dust, go forward securely, joyfully and swiftly, on the path of prudent happiness … in the pursuit of that perfection to which the Spirit of the Lord has called you.