Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house there are many places to live in; otherwise I would have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you to myself, so that you may be with me where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going. Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus said: I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
“I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” This is the decisive word of the Lord, on which everything must be oriented!
Of course it is necessary to understand this sentence correctly, because it does not mean that every person who has not known the message of salvation and consequently has not had an encounter with Jesus is necessarily condemned. God will know how to judge every situation justly! But this can in no way reduce our zeal; rather it can increase our gratitude to God.
The serious question we have to ask ourselves is whether we have internalised the inner dynamic of this word of the Lord: To show the way to Jesus to the seeker, to proclaim the Lord to the one who asks for the truth and to show the source to those who thirst for life.
How can we avoid slackening in our efforts to evangelise?
First of all, it is important to deepen more and more that mission is an assignment, i.e. it is not up to our choice and taste. To pass on the Word means to give life, for “Human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4).
Without becoming anxious and therefore tense, we must be aware that, on a certain level proclamation is a life-saving measure. The divine life is to awaken in man, to live and also to survive.
- To awaken is, so to speak, the first proclamation, the sowing of the Word, the going out to those who do not know life and are still in the shadow of death.
- To live means to help that the divine life that has been found is nurtured and can grow.
- To survive means to protect that life against the attacks from within and without, and to hold fast to the faith.
It is relatively easy to reach someone who has already set out in search of God, to give him what he longs for. On the other hand, it is much more difficult to find those who seem indifferent to God or even are indifferent. No matter what one says and does, it seems as if it sinks into a sea of indifference, and not infrequently one then loses the courage to testify to one’s faith.
But in the latter case, faith in particular must be activated. Nothing we do for the salvation of our neighbour is in vain! Every prayer, every effort, every overcoming of our discouragement or even hopelessness with regard to the conversion of those for whom we intercede before God… Parents for their children who are going in the wrong direction; today it is perhaps sometimes necessary to add that this also applies to children and young people who may see their parents going in the wrong direction…
Nothing that is done out of love is in vain in the Kingdom of God, and where we no longer see any ways, let us entrust it to the Mother of the Lord, who still knows ways to the hearts of people that we do not see.
Let us never abandon ourselves to discouragement, which can certainly be fought as a demonic temptation!
Let us also not be confused when the impetus for evangelisation diminishes in the Church, when dialogue is less a means of evangelisation than of understanding between peoples, when efforts at ecumenism are not founded in the full truth, when the word: “I am the Way; I am Truth and Life” is in danger of being relativised.
We are committed to the mission of the Lord. He is our orientation! And if one day we are allowed to come home to Him, then He shall be able to say: “Enter into the Father’s house” (cf. Mt 25:34)
And if the Lord returns before then, then He shall find us working in His vineyard! That will please Him!