One Way Only

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

“Christ the Consolator” (detail) by Carl Bloch

“As long as you believe in God and try to be a good person, it doesn’t matter what religion you choose.”

“There are different paths up the same mountain, but they all lead to the peak.” 

How many times have you heard people speak this way? This is the prevailing wisdom. It’s politically correct. Tolerant. Reasonable.

But it’s wrong.

Jesus has the nerve to say, “I am the way, the truth and the life… no one comes to the Father but by me.”

The highway to heaven had been closed for centuries. God did not set up the road block. We did. But the barriers that we erected were immovable. At least by us. God was the only one who could open the way.

There was a problem with truth and life as well. Sure, people had some ideas about God. But the ideas were shadowy, fragmentary and mingled with distortions. Everyone in the ancient world knew there was a Creator we were obliged to worship. But some thought homage required human sacrifice. And most thought that there were many gods. A few, like Aristotle, realized that there could only be one God. But he imagined this God to be remote and aloof, unconcerned with human affairs.

Finally there was the issue of life, divine life. Even the Jews, who had the most truth about God, had a problem here. They knew what God required. But even the best among them lacked the power to do it. Take David for instance. When the chips were down, he proved defenseless against the power of lust, deceit, and even murder. 

Jesus is the way.

Indeed he is a two way street. In him, God comes to meet us, holding nothing back, offering everything of who he is and what he has. Through Him and Him alone, we have access to God to such a point that we can now call him Abba, Father.

Jesus is the truth.

Not just some truth but the entire truth. He is God’s definitive and perfect Word expressing who God is, what He’s like, who we are, and what we need to do to be saved from misery and futility.

And Jesus is the life.

He gives us not only commandments and noble ideals, but also the power to live them out, the power to become new people. That Power is the Lord and Giver of Life Himself, the Holy Spirit, who Jesus pours out on those who accept Him.

One Way, Truth and Life.

So there is only one Way, one Truth, one Life, and one Priest who offers a perfect sacrifice for sins. So how can it be that we are called a royal priesthood (I Peter 2)? How can it be that we who believe in Him are to do greater works than he? (John 14:11-12)

Simple. Once we’ve been baptized, there is no longer a separation between us, on the one hand, and Him on the other. We are baptized into him, become members of his body, so he begins to live his life and exercise his priesthood through us.

If we let him, he will use our lips to spread his truth, our lives to show the way, and our love to give others life. And the works He will accomplish through us will far surpass what he did in his three short years of public ministry. More hungry will be fed, more sick healed, more books written. Tyrannical, atheistic empires will even be brought down. The Good News will be preached not just in Galilee, but all over the world, not just in person, but touching millions at a time . . .  through radio, TV, and internet.

But the greatest work that He will accomplish through us is to teach us to be priests, to offer the spiritual sacrifice of our own lives (Romans 12:2) to the Father through Him, with Him, and in Him. For the meaning of human life is to love, and the greatest gift we’ve received from Him is the power to give ourselves away.

Editor’s Note: Reflection on the Mass readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A) – Acts 6:1-7; Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19; First Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12


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About the Author

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio writes from Texas. For his resources on parenting and family life or information on his pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, visit www.crossroadsinitiative.com or call 1.800.803.0118.

Raised in Italian/Irish neighborhood in Providence, RI, Marcellino D’Ambrosio never thought about being anything else but Catholic. But like other Catholic teens, his faith was the last place he looked for fulfillment. Following in the footsteps of his parents, both professional performers in their single years, Marcellino set his sights on stardom, playing bass guitar in several popular rock bands by the time he was 16. At that time he encountered a group of Catholics whose Christian life was an exciting adventure, an adventure worth living for. So he laid his bass guitar aside and embarked on a road that led to a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Catholic University of America. His doctoral dissertation, written under the direction of the renowned Jesuit theologian, Avery Cardinal Dulles, focused on one of the theological lights of the Second Vatican Council, Henri Cardinal de Lubac, and his recovery of biblical interpretation of the early Church fathers.

His writing has been published in the international journal Communio, Abingdon’s Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation, the Tablet, Catholic Digest, Our Sunday Visitor, and Catholic News Service’s syndicated column "Faith Alive." His popular book, Exploring the Catholic Church and video course by the same name (known as Touching Jesus through the Church in the USA) have been used in hundreds of parishes all throughout the English speaking world. The Guide to the Passion: 100 Questions about the Passion of the Christ, of which he is co-author and co-editor, may prove to be the fastest-selling Catholic book of all time with over a million copies sold in less than three months.

Dr. D’Ambrosio, the father of five and a business owner, brings to his teaching a practical, down-to-earth perspective that makes his words easy to understand and put into practice. Audio and video recordings of his popular teaching are internationally distributed. He often appears on the international Eternal Word Television Network is regularly heard on the nationally syndicated radio show "Catholic Answers Live." Dr. D'Ambrosio has been a guest on Geraldo Rivera, At Large on FoxNews Channel, the Bill O'Reilly radio show and Radio America's news program Dateline: Washington.

In 2001 Dr. D’Ambrosio left his position at the University of Dallas to develop the work of Crossroads Productions, the apostolate of Catholic renewal and evangelization that he co-founded twenty years ago, and to more directly oversee the growth of Wellness Opportunities Group a company dedicated to helping people improve the quality of their lives physically, mentally, and financially. He, his wife Susan, and their five children, reside just outside of San Antonio, TX.

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3 Comments

  1. I agree with much, in fact most, of what you’ve written with the very large exception of one part which I will point out in quotation marks. “And the works He will accomplish through us will far surpass what he did in his three short years of public ministry.” That comment as written is an impossibility either individually or taken as a whole, collectively. You can try to explain how or under what set of circumstances this can be taken at face value but it will not scrub clean. God love you.

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