– Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter –
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” [John 14:6]
In today’s reading (as in last Friday’s reading), Jesus says “I am the way … no one comes to the Father, but by me.” In other words, Jesus is not just one of many ways to the Father, he is the only way.
When pondering this passage, it wasn’t long before my mind turned to consider what “the way” (hodos – journey, road, path) to the Father might look like if it weren’t a person, but was embedded into the physical world. The idea that it would be more of a steep climb, and less a horizontal trek, presented itself quite quickly (cf. Mt 7:3). This shouldn’t be surprising: numerous biblical events, and various spiritual masters throughout history, describe the way to God as being akin to an arduous, grace-fuelled, mountain ascent.
Of course, a mountain path is not typically level and smooth – at least not for long. It can be strewn with rocks upon which one might trip. It can be slippery. It can be overgrown and thus hard to see. It can require leaps across streams and crevices. In short, a person who is going up the mountain is still very much at risk of falling down, losing their way, being faint of heart or even turning around. But this is precisely because they are on the right track! In other words, spiritual struggles can often be good signs because they might well indicate that one is grappling with the ascent.
by Mark Makowiecki