The Way

The term “the way” can be applied to many aspects of travel in life.  We go on “the way” to our destinations often with the use of our GPS systems.  We “find our way” in life by trying different paths in terms of our life choices.  “The Way” also refers to El Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route in Spain whose destination is the shrine of the Apostle St. James the Great located in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela where his remains are believed to be buried.  It is “the way” to honor St. James.

A film titled “The Way” starring Martin Sheen reflected the spiritual nature of this pilgrimage route.  In the movie Sheen plays a father who travels overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who dies while traveling the “The Way.”  The father decides to take the pilgrimage himself to honor his son’s memory.  What he does not realize is the personal/spiritual growth that he will undergo and the people that he will meet and who will accompany him as a result.

In Sunday’s gospel, Jesus addresses this notion of life’s pilgrimage by saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  He says this to his Apostles to indicate his closeness to/oneness with God.  “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (vs. 11).  But the Apostles do not get it.  “Philip said to him, ‘Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip?  Whoever has seen me has seen the Father’” (Jn. 14: 8-9).

First the Apostles, then the Church have had to find “The Way” through Jesus the sheep gate.  The Apostles must make the spiritual journey to understand how Jesus is Messiah in hindsight of the Resurrection.  The Church makes the journey of learning and growing as shown in the example of the first reading with the issue of the daily distribution to the Hellenist’s widows.  The Church, today, is tasked with continuing to learn and grow through Christ who is “the way the truth and the life.”  It is a spiritual journey in which we all share.  In this Easter season, as we journey down this post resurrection pilgrimage road of Emmaus, how are each of us called to deepen our understanding of Christ who is “the way?”