In a recent homily at World Youth Day the Holy Father reminded us that: “to be Christian means to believe that the way of Jesus Christ is the right way to be human, the way that leads to the goal of a completely fulfilled and authentic humanity”.
What struck me was the Pope’s use of the term “the way”. Long before the word “Christian” was coined in Antioch as a derogatory term for followers of Jesus,” they were known as followers of “The Way” (Acts 2:9). John tells us (14:6) that Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
In his homily, Pope Benedict continued: “to be Christian is a way; or rather it is a pilgrimage, a journey with Jesus Christ. It is to go in the direction He showed us, and continues to show us.”So we are all on a journey to the Father and Jesus is our roadmap and our companion.
If Jesus is the way, then in order to find our way we must know Jesus, not just know about Him. Christian discipleship is growing in our knowledge of Jesus. To be imitators of Christ, in the word’s of Paul (Rom 13:14) we must “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”. We do this by seeking the Lord in prayer, studying His Word, frequenting the Sacraments and sharing in the liturgical life of our Catholic community.
There are other companions on our journey, parents, family, spouse, children, teachers and friends. They strengthen and encourage us along the way, but the full journey is ours alone and our only constant companion and guide is Jesus.
Christianity is not just a point of view; it is a way of life. It is following and imitating Jesus. It is making decisions and judgments based on the mind of Christ. It is never losing sight of our goal and knowing that we will never be abandoned.
It is the Way. It is His Way.