Sunday, May 14, is the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A). Mass Readings: Acts 6:1-7; Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12.
A prayer by St. Augustine beautifully sums up today’s Gospel. I found it in St. Louis de Montfort’s book True Devotion to Mary — which makes it perfect for this weekend, when we celebrate Our Lady of Fatima and Mother’s Day.
In the Gospel, Jesus makes it clear that he is the central figure in history and in our personal history. He says, “In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places,” and “I am going to prepare a place for you.”
Jesus also says: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And, last, he says: “If you know me, then you will also know my Father.”
Jesus is our guide to heaven and our final resting place. He is the Way to the Father, and he is one with the Father.
As St. Augustine’s prayer puts it:
“O Jesus Christ, you are my Father, my merciful God, my great King, my good Shepherd, my only Master, my best helper, my beloved friend of overwhelming beauty, my living Bread, my eternal priest. You are my guide to my heavenly home, my one true light, my holy joy, my true way, my shining wisdom, my unfeigned simplicity, the peace and harmony of my soul, my perfect safeguard, my bounteous inheritance, my everlasting salvation.”
I love that.
But just as Jesus is “my guide to my heavenly home,” the readings point out that he uses other guides to help assist him.
First, there are the ministers of the Church. The first reading shows the early Church picking out particular men to perform new tasks.
And then there are the rest of us, who become part of what St. Peter in the second reading calls “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises.”
All of us serve as guides to heaven — but Mary most of all. How does she do it? Like any other mother: through loving warnings.
Upon the May 13 canonization of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta we recall the love both of them had for poor sinners. Through them, Our Lady warned the world about the tragedy of sin.
St. Louis de Montfort put it this way: “Sinners sell their birthright, that is, the joys of paradise, for a dish of lentils, that is, the pleasures of this world. … For a passing moment of pleasure, for a fleeting wisp of honor, for a piece of hard earth, yellow or white, they barter away their baptismal grace, their robe of innocence and their heavenly inheritance.”
But by giving ourselves to Christ through Mary, as the Fatima saints did, the situation is reversed.
St. Louis says of those who consecrate themselves to Mary: “Mary obtains for them the heavenly Father’s blessing. As they are the youngest born and adopted, they are not really entitled to it. Clad in new, precious and sweet-smelling garments, with body and soul well-prepared and dressed, they confidently approach their heavenly Father. … He partakes with joy of what Mary, their Mother, has prepared for him.”
She unites them with Jesus Christ — the Way, the Truth and the Life; our road, our destination, our all.
Tom Hoopes is writer in residence
at Benedictine College
in Atchison, Kansas, and author of