Sybil 1998

Gospel text

John 14: 1-12

1 Don't be upset. Trust God, and trust me too. 2 In my father's domain, there are various places to stay. Otherwise, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 After going to prepare it for you, I come back again and then I will take you with me, so that where I am, you will also be there. As for the place where I am going, you know the way. 5 Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not even know where you are going, how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus answered him, "I am at the same time the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, then you will be able to know my Father also. But, from now on you know him, and even you have seen him". 8 Philip said to him, "Master, tell us where the Father is, and that will be enough for us". Jesus replied, "Since all the time that I have been with you, you have not yet known me Philip? Whoever saw me also saw the Father. How can you say, 'Tell us where the Father is'. 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I speak don't come from myself. It is the Father, who lives in me, who is the source of his own actions. 11 Trust me! I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If this is a problem for you, at least trust the actions themselves. Truly, I assure you, he who believes in me will take the same actions as I do, and even he will take greater actions, because I am going back to the Father".


Here and now

Gospel commentary - Homily

The false path of fundamentalism

The events of September 11, 2001 brought the problem of fundamentalism to the fore. In particular, before our horrified eyes, we could see the death path where it was driving. However, fundamentalism has always been among us. Racial fundamentalism existed in the United States and in Germany: one was only really a man if one was white and of Aryan race. Religious fundamentalism is still rampant. Several years ago, I witnessed in my immediate environment the influence of the White Berets and the disciples of Archbishop Lefebvre, a religious fundamentalism. To all these fundamentalism, there is a common note: there is only one way to be truly human, as there is only one way to go to God: it is to be Muslim , or it is to be catholic, or it is to follow the ecclesiastical rules of former days, or it is to make such or such prayer, such or such practice. And this rigidity becomes a death path.

However, when you are sensitive to events and open to the truth of things, you realize that life does not follow a linear path. I look at my two daughters who are trying to integrate into today's society: it's complicated! One tries one way, then another. I see people who drop out of high school, get work experiences, and then go back to school. I am sometimes confused by all these multiple paths with their meanders and their detours. But, in truth, I also have my own detours.

In all this context, it is the Gospel of this day which opens to me the greatest and most moving perspectives: "In my father's domain, there are different places to stay. Otherwise, would I have told you that I am I going to prepare a place for you?" Let us not forget that, moments before, Jesus announced to Peter that he would betray him. This betrayal is now part of his biography. And yet, this route will still lead him on a life path, towards this promised place. This multiplicity of places opens the way to the multiplicity of paths, mine, yours, as well as that of the multitude that inhabits our planet. It is not easy to open your mind to such broad perspectives.

Muslims say, "The path is the Koran". The Jews say, "The path is the Torah". Christians say, "The path is the New Testament". What is Jesus saying? He says: "I am the way, the truth, the life". I underline here two words: "I" and "am".

The "I" is a person, not a text frozen in time. A person is movement and life. He is also a direction. But a direction opens the way to several paths in the same direction, it opens the place to evolution and conversion. Yourself, when you think of Jesus, you probably think of love, compassion, call, what do I know? But these terms take on a different connotation today than yesterday, and they will have a different one tomorrow, because you will not experience the same thing. The fact of being emotionally tied to a person, not to a text, gives the motivation necessary to get started. Could not a Muslim live something similar with Allah through Muhammad, just as a Jew with Yahweh through Moses?

The "am" refers to an eternal present. It is no longer a question of the Jesus of the past, who circulated on the roads of Palestine. It is indeed the one who is currently alive, to whom I have access, as far as I believe. In connection with this reflection, I asked myself a question: "When I look at my whole life, what is the most interesting moment?" My first job? No. My first love? Not even. The most interesting moment of my life is the present moment, and I hope to be able to say in 5 or 10 years, if I am still alive, it is still the present moment. Because the present moment is the only one on which I have control. The past is already lived, and the future partly escapes me.

So when Philip asks Jesus the question, "Master, tell us where the father is, and that will be enough for us", he replies, "Since all the time that I have been with you, you have not yet known me Philip?" Why seek God in the sky of a future or a distant past? I truly believe that life leads to unimaginable dimensions, but these unimaginable dimensions are already rooted in my present, to the extent that I am capable of opening myself to it.

Unfortunately, the various forms of fundamentalism have closed over dead texts and an idealized past. To the question: "What is the most interesting moment?", they answer: the time of David, the time of Muhammad, the peak of the 12th century, the time of Pius XII, the period when there weren't all these foreigners and immigrants.

Easter was first of all the victory over death generated by a sclerotic world based on the text of the law and a vision of society and of the temple, it is for us the hope of a victory over all death coming from fundamentalism both religious and civil.


-André Gilbert, Gatineau, January 2002