Homily – May 14, 2017

A couple of years ago I was having supper with friends. They invited other guests to supper. I sat next to a woman from Texas and surprise, surprise she wanted to talk about Jesus and the importance Jesus had in her life. She felt sorry for all the people in the world who did not know Jesus. She was quite convinced they were lost. Didn’t Jesus say,’ no one comes to the Father except through me.’

I asked her, what happens to all those good, devoted men and women of other faiths who have never been exposed to our Christian faith? What happens to them? She answered,’ well I didn’t say this Jesus did. That’s true Jesus did say, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.

Might we understand these words of Jesus in this way; it is through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus that the human family is reconciled to God. The passion, death and resurrection of Jesus destroyed the barrier between the human family and God. Jesus told the disciples that he is the way, the truth and the life. He is the way to the father. That way might be seen as the crowded streets of Jerusalem Jesus struggled along and fell on as he made his way to Calvary. Jesus’ way of living and loving and forgiving is to be the norm of our lives. Jesus is the truth. The crucified Christ bears witness to the truth of God’s unconditional love for every human being. Jesus is the life, the eternal life offered to all of us, the life purchased for all of us, not by silver or gold but by his precious blood.

No one comes to God except through Jesus our Christ who died for all humanity. How men and women of other faiths come to God is their fidelity to the teachings of their own beliefs. The fanaticism of some people of some faiths is a distortion of their faiths, just as the fanaticism of some Christians is a distortion of our faith, a betrayal of the commandment, ‘love one another as I have loved you’.

In the Acts of the Apostles we read of Peter’s visit to the home of the pagan soldier Cornelius. Cornelius sent friends to Joppa where Peter was staying to ask Peter to visit him in his home. Peter accepted the invitation but when he came to Cornelius’ home Peter let it be known, ‘it is unlawful for Jews to associate or visit Gentiles but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean. He accepted the hospitality of Cornelius and was gifted with this insight, ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, that in every nation anyone who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to God.’

God’s life and love and forgiveness are for every person of any faith community and all this comes to all of us through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus our Christ in ways known only to God.

May we be blessed to see God’s grace and love working in the faith life of good men and women of all faiths.