Where Are You Going?
I am always reminded at this time of the year of the story of Saint Peter, who according to the apocryphal Acts of Peter, was fleeing from likely crucifixion in Rome. Along the road just outside of the city he meets the risen Jesus. Peter asks Jesus, “Quo Vadis? Where are you going?, to which Jesus responds, “I am going to Rome to be crucified again.” Peter understands this message, his courage is restored, and he returns to the city to continue his ministry where he is, of course, eventually martyred by being crucified upside-down.
Today, Jesus poses Peter’s question to us. “Where are you going?” It is the most important question of every human life. We are made to be purposeful creatures. We, unlike the animals, have both intellect and free will. Because of this we are capable of great glory and great evil. We are often challenged by our fears, just as Peter was. But the incarnate God, Jesus, was, is, and always will be our model, our guide, and he is the answer to this question.
During his 33 years of life among us here on Earth, Jesus showed us the path we need to take in order to ascend with him to our natural home in Heaven. As pilgrims on a great, but difficult journey through this world, we can keep our eyes and our intentions on Jesus. He is our way to our eternal home.
Like Peter, though, we are sometimes overwhelmed with fear and the desire to escape what Jesus asked us to do just before he ascended into Heaven after his Resurrection: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” As with Peter, Jesus reminds us every day that the way to the Ascension had to go through the crucifixion.
It is our desire not to suffer. We wish to avoid it, sometimes at the cost of fleeing from our duties, indeed, from our very selves. We need to remember that Jesus promised us that he would leave his Holy Spirit with us, that he would be our support, our advocate in those times when we are being persecuted for bringing the Good News to the world.
The world so often rejects that Good News. It often thinks the Gospel is the enemy of those who have given themselves over to the daily pursuit of the immediate gratifications of sensual pleasures, of money, and of power. They laugh at, ridicule, even persecute those who wish to follow that Good News. And we must be willing to walk the path of Jesus, to suffer for the Good News as he did. The great irony is, of course, that in doing so we find happiness here too.
Where are we going? Jesus is our sign post. He is our goal. Follow him! Show the way to him with your life by living the Gospel with your actions as well as your words, just as Jesus did. Then, when we have finished the journey, we too will ascend to be with Our Lord Jesus in Heaven for eternity.
Dan Doyle is a retired professor of English and Humanities. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology. To read more of Dan’s work, click here.