I was doing my morning prayers and study on this first Friday and was reading Bishop Barron’s Reflection for today’s Gospel.
He opens with one of the key lines in today’s gospel:
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Either Jesus is who he says he is (in which case we are obliged to give our whole lives to him), or he is a madman (in which case we should be against him).
This is an argument I’ve heard many times. He builds on it by quoting the great C. S. Lewis:
What does not remain, as C.S. Lewis saw so clearly, is the bland middle position that, though he isn’t divine, he is a good, kind, and wise ethical teacher. If he isn’t who he says he is, then he isn’t admirable at all.
The only other argument I’ve heard is “what if His followers just made it all up?” I find that argument weak. I find it hard to believe so many would willingly die for something they knew to be a lie.
Going on though, the Bishop makes some interesting contrasts for our world which itself tends to propose a Syncretism, a Universalism.
Thus Jesus compels a choice in a manner that no other religious founder does. The Buddha could claim that he had found a way that he wanted to share with his followers, but Jesus said, “I am the way.” Mohammed could say that, through him, the final divine truth had been communicated to the world, but Jesus said, “I am the truth.” Confucius could maintain that he had discovered a new and uplifting form of life, but Jesus said, “I am the life.” And thus, we are either with Jesus or we are against him. No other founder forces that choice as clearly as Jesus does.
Truly unique. Not just another Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, etc.