5th Sunday of Easter – A

Acts 6:1-7, I Pt 2:4-9, Jn 14:1-12

Son: “Mom, teacher was asking me today, if I have any brothers or sisters who will be coming to school.” Mom: “That’s nice of her to take such an interest in you. So what did she say when you told her that you are the only child, my dear?” Son: She just said “Thank goodness!” Dear friends I wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day! We will have a special blessing for all the mothers present here at the end of the Mass.

The sages of India prayed every morning centuries before Christ the “Shanti Mantra” (“Mantra prayer of peace”) taken from Brihadaranyaka Upanishads, composed in 700 BCE, in the Sanskrit language: “From falsehood lead me to truth, from darkness lead me to light, from mortality lead me to immortality” (“Aasato Ma SathGamaya, Thamaso Ma JyothirGamaya, Mrtjyor Ma AmrithamGamaya”).

Centuries later Jesus gave the answer to their prayer through his tremendous claim: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  This means that he alone is the surest way to God. John’s central message is that Jesus is both the revealer and the Revelation of God. If we wish to know who God is, what God thinks and what God wants of us, we must attend to Jesus the Word of God.

Jesus us tells us today: “Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do”. I know a number of people who would say that today’s gospel is their favorite passage of scripture. It is indeed an attractive image of Jesus as way to heaven, of Jesus going ahead of us to prepare a place for us in his father’s house. It is comforting to know that our belief in Jesus, as the way the truth and the life, is our means to eternal life. But if you listen to the gospel carefully, it is clear that it asks more of us than simply believing in Jesus. Jesus asks us not simply to believe in His name but to do His works. He says, “Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do.” So belief is not sufficient in itself, it must be accompanied by the works that Christ calls us to do.

Now this is not to say that the works that we do in any way earn heaven or our relationship with God. Such gifts are always God’s grace. But since such gifts have been given to us, it is imperative for us to live in such a way that our work shows God’s love for us and our commitment to God. Believing is essential, but we must also work in such a way that we manifest God’s goodness.

A retired priest and a New York Taxi driver died in an accident and went to heaven. The taxi driver was given a big mansion where as the priest was received only a little cottage. The priest decided to question St. Peter. He said “St. Peter, is there some mistake? Should I not receive a mansion too. I went to church every day, and I preached the word of God week in and week out.” St. Peter replied, “Sorry father, your place in heaven is gauged by the results of your work. When you preached, people slept. But when he drove, everyone prayed!”

We should expect to encounter God in the midst of our work, and we should work in such a way that it is obvious to others that we are followers of Christ. After all, if we appear the same as everyone else in our day to day activities, if our faith does not some how set us apart, it is questionable how real our faith is. So wherever we work, whether it is in an office, whether our work now is going to school, whether our work is caring for a home or driving a truck or working on an assembly line or in a bank, whatever job we have, we need to work in such a way that it manifests that we are followers of Jesus.

Let me give you three qualities that I think can help us do this: integrity, compassion and witness.

Those that follow Christ work with integrity. They do not cheat on their algebra test or on their homework. They do not bend the rules of the office to their own advantage. They do not put others down to make themselves look good. Those who follow Christ work with integrity.

Those who follow Christ also work with compassion. They are aware of the people around them, whether the people in their home or the people on their job. They are willing to take time to listen to a child or to a spouse after a difficult day. They pick up clues from their co-workers of some problem or stress and let them know they are available for support. Those who follow Christ work with compassion.

Those who follow Christ are also willing to give witness to their faith. They are willing to let others know that they are Catholic, that they believe in Christ. This does not mean that they try to push their faith on other people. It definitely means that their faith is not something that they are trying to hide.

Jesus is the way the truth and the life. Our believing in him leads us to eternal joy. But faith is not sufficient in itself. It must be lived out in a way that it reflects God’s love in our lives. Those who are willing to live their lives with integrity, with compassion, and a willingness to witness identify themselves as true followers of Jesus. What will you do this week to make it clear to others that you are a believer? What will you do this week so that others might see God’s love in the work that you do?

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