We have many metaphors for Jesus in scripture. One of the most popular is Jesus as the sacrificial lamb. We also know Jesus as the Shepherd while we are the sheep. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Jesus is the Bread of Life and the Light of the World.
In today’s gospel, we read that “no one comes to the Father except through” Jesus. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” I am picturing Jesus as an intermediary between us and God the Father. That is not to say that Jesus is blocking us from His father or discouraging us from seeking His father. Jesus is telling his disciples of the powerful unity and malleability between His father and Him. Jesus is telling His apostles that He and the Father are one yet distinct at the same time. Jesus is reiterating the idea of the Holy Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one. When we seek the Father, we seek the Son and the Holy Spirit also. When we seek Jesus, we seek His father and the Holy Spirit also. When we seek the Holy Spirit, we are also seeking God the Father and Christ the Son.
Jesus is not trying to keep us from the Father by saying that “no one comes to the Father except through me.” He is reminding us that when we go to the Father, we are also blessed with the Son. It is a marvelous gift that we have the Holy Trinity. Christ loves us all uniquely and He desires love from every soul. He knows we are all different so He gives us different ways to be in relationship with Him.
One of the best metaphors I have ever heard for understanding the Holy Trinity is the idea of water. Water is made of the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen. Water can be frozen solid in ice, liquid, or gaseous in particles in our world. Water can take the form of three distinct things but the chemicals are always the same. Ice, liquid water and water vapor are all hydrogen and oxygen. God is The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. The creator of Heaven and Earth is also the Son, Jesus Christ, who was crucified, died, and rose again as well as the tongues of flame that descended on the disciples as the Holy Spirit.
Another popular metaphor for the Holy Trinity is the shamrock or clover. St. Patrick, an English slave in Ireland who returned to the Green Isle after acquiring his freedom, used the three leaves of the clover to represent God the father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three leaves on one stem.
Jesus is not trying to be difficult when he says, “no one comes to the father except through me.” He is actually trying to make it easier to be in relationship with God. Jesus is the sacrificial lamb, the shepherd, the vine, the bread of life, the light of the world, the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is all of these and more because He desires the love of every soul. God wants to make it easy for us to love Him. How rewarding it is to be able to connect with Christ in more than one way. God does not fit into a box and he cannot be defined in just one way. We can reach God in many ways. We can know Christ in many ways.
Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit so whenever we seek Him, we are seeking God. Whenever we love another human being, we are also loving God because He is in every soul.