The Gospel today is a repetition of the Gospel on Friday and yesterday. Jesus commands his disciples not to be troubled, to believe in God and believe in him. There is one question and one request to Jesus. Thomas asks: Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? To this, Jesus answers: I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also.
Philip then asks: Lord, show us the Father and we will be satisfied. To this, Jesus answered: whoever has seen me has seen the Father… Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. In both responses, Jesus shows the only way to the Father is through Jesus. This is what Catholics believe: Jesus is the only way to the Father. While other religions may have the truth from human reason, they do not have the revealed truth about God. While other Christian communities accept basic revealed truth about God, only the Catholic Church has the fullness of revealed truth.
This is why the Church is often seen as a Mother, because she is the Bride of Christ and she nurtures the adopted sons and daughters of God by protecting the teaching of Christ in Scripture which is based on Sacred Tradition and by dispensing the sacraments through her ministers. The Church is made up of human beings and is often mistakenly seen as an organization where one is a member and can leave anytime they want. But the Church is more than a human organization. She is the Bride of Christ AND therefore, the Body of Christ, the visible sign of Jesus on earth. Like Christ, she has a human nature and divine nature. She is human because she is made up of sinful human beings. She is injured by the great scandals and sins of her leaders and members. This is similar to the human body of Jesus which suffered injury when scourged and nailed to the cross and which also was drained of life. But she is also divine, because like her Master, she teaches divine truths as revealed by Jesus. She makes visible the grace of God through the celebration of the sacraments most important of which is she gives the true presence of her Master in the Eucharist.
All these she does so she can fulfill what Peter said in the Second Reading: to build a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Everyone is called to holiness. There is no exception. We are to be separated to proclaim the mighty acts of God who calls us out of darkness to his marvelous light. How does the Church fulfill her role as Mother of all believers? She remains faithful to her Master, Jesus because she knows there is no other way, no other truth and no other life than Jesus.
The First Reading shows us how the Church leads her children to holiness. It is through the teaching of the Apostles. The role of the Apostles is to devote themselves to prayer and to serving the word. To free themselves from serving tables, the Apostles ordained seven men to be deacons. The ordination of deacons is an innovation of the Apostles. Jesus did not establish the order of deacons but it is through the Apostles this order was establish. This shows that the Church, as a good Mother, responds to the changing needs of her children as long as she does not conflict with the teaching of Jesus Christ.
Through the readings we see why the Church is called a Mother: she takes care of her children, responding to their needs as long as what she does will contradict the teaching of her Master. The main role of the Church as seen in her ministers and members is to serve. The Apostles said they need to serve the word. This shows they are servants of the Word and not masters of the word. They may adapt the administration aspect of the Church BUT they cannot change what Jesus taught regarding the truth.
A good mother may change the way she teaches her children, or change her approach to teaching her children, but she will not change the truth and lie to her children. Similarly, the Church may adapt her approach to serving the Word, but she cannot change the truth. She cannot dumb it down or water it down. She remains faithful, teaching her children what is important: to live their lives in holiness by following Jesus, the way, the truth and the life.
Lord, I come, thankful for my mother and for those who acted as mothers to me. Bless them and may they get their reward when they meet you. Bless all mothers, especially those who are struggling to fulfill their vocation. Give them wisdom and patience to confront the challenges in their lives. Remind them they find refuge only in you. Bless those who have not lived up to their vocations but still carried the child to term and gave them life. Bless their children and may they forgive their mothers and find healing. Bless those who have aborted their children. May they come to you for healing.
I also thank you for our Mother, the Church, who continues to nurture us with your Word and Sacrament. Even at this time, we thirst for your sacraments, she continues to minister to us through priests who remain faithful in celebrating the mass for our intentions. Protect the Church. Deliver her from wicked ministers, who preach their opinions rather than your Word. May they repent and turn from their sins. Keep us in YOUR truth Lord so we may know you: the Way and the Truth and the Life.