All Saints Day Extra: The Map

A little conversation at supper between Jesus and a few flawed saints.

‘No we don’t.’
Thomas looks at him, straightening himself a little as he speaks, his eyes on fire. No one else has spoken up and that fuels his frustration.
‘No we don’t,’ he says, ‘we don’t. You say we know where you’re going, but we have no idea!’
He glances around at the other faces, some staring into space, giving nothing away, others clearly annoyed at his outburst.
‘This lot may not be admitting it,’ he goes on, ‘but it’s confusing. What are you talking about?’
As Jesus studies his face, the rings beneath his eyes, the flush in his cheeks, he can’t help but travel back in time.
‘We’ll stick with you,’ the dour Tom had claimed, not so long ago. ‘We’ll even die! If you have to die, we have to die! We’re not afraid.’ As the rising shadow of danger loomed Tom had done what he always did. Spoken his mind.
‘How can we know where to go, when you won’t tell us where you’re going?’ he hisses now, tearing a bit of bread from his fist with his teeth.
‘I’m the way, Thomas.’
‘Yes, I’m the map, I’m the road. I’m the way to follow. I’m the journey and the destination. No one finds the way to the Father except via me.’
‘I’m glad you brought that up,’ says Phillip, his forehead creased and furrowed. ‘Show us him now. Show us the Father.’
Philip, the ever practical one. Always wanting to do something. Jesus can see him now in those early days, running for his friend, dragging Nathanael to meet him, like he was a reluctant dog.
‘How much would it cost to feed a hillside of folks?’ Jesus had asked Phil on another crowded day.
Philip had shrugged, calculated for a moment. ‘A day’s wage? A good day’s wage I’d say.’
‘Follow me,’ Philip had later said to those strange visitors, sounding for all the world like his rabbi, as he dragged more people to meet Jesus. Always bringing others…always.
‘Philip, you’ve brought so many people to see me, yet you haven’t grasped it yet. When you see me, you see the Father. Keep looking and you’ll see clearly.’
‘Why not just show yourself to everybody then, finish the job,’ says Judas. ‘Why wait? Why waste time? What’s the point? Let the world know your name.’
‘The world will know my name, but not yet. Not yet. For now it begins with those who want to know, those who love me, those who are hungry.’
And with that he lifts some bread and feeds them.

John 14

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