Whither goest thou? Religion Column

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 23, 2018

By Fr.Jonathan Filkins

In the later days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He was addressing the Apostles about the foretold departure. Always bereft with doubts, insecurity and outright fear, they frequently thought the message was only for themselves; in spite of our Savior’s directions to believe otherwise.

Only knowing that their leader was soon departing, none of them had thought through what was about to happen. They only looked to the immediate effect, rather than the eternal effect. It is a quite natural condition, requiring a greater belief in the super-natural.

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“But now, I go my way to Him that sent me, and none of you asketh me, ‘Whither goest thou?” At first glance, it almost sounds like a rebuke for, after all of these many months together, they still did not fully understand the true purpose of Jesus’ time with us. Yet, in our Savior’s grace, it was not a chastisement; it was not a parental scolding. It was, after all, a gentle teaching for them and for us, as we too may need to hear the message, again.

In the Gospel of Saint John, Christ Jesus is often being quoted by the author. It is not some ambiguous analogy, nor a third-party report. This is a first-person account of what was said and   is what we believe is an integral part of Christianity.

Our Lord continues, “But, because I have said these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart.”

Many of us have felt the joy of knowing Jesus Christ, through the words of the Gospels. These reports of the “Good News” have, and do, fill us with great hope; both for now and eternity. Yet, we too may not ask the question of ourselves, “Whither goest thou?”

The question arises when we sorrow, as feeling abandoned, or alone. We may sense that hope-less feeling within ourselves, as though Jesus has moved on to others. As before, this is also a very natural feeling, this spiritual loneliness. Simply, He is always present within; if we let in the Holy Spirit and hear the voice of God.

Jesus, as both the Son of Man and the Son of God, always knew where He was going; He also knows where we going. As all-knowing and all-powerful, His time on Earth was not for us. It was to teach, admonish and edify His Creation.

His question, when taken from a human perspective, is instructive. “Whither goest thou?” should be asked of each one of us; both collectively and individually. Even in our most seemingly euphoric conditions, we less-than perfect humans are not fully secure in our relationships, here on earth; let alone with Heaven.

In our marketplace today, there ae innumerable tomes telling us how to get a sense of direction in our lives. They encourage us to organize, plan and get a sense of direction; at least in this materialistic world. What they fail to deliver is long-lasting satisfaction, as they encourage only growth with worldly things, rather than eternal things.

For we Christians, the life-giving fountain, for all of our living and spiritual direction, is found within the Holy Bible. It is here we find the Compass for Our Lives and to answer the question “Whither goest thou? Consider a chapter, or two, of spiritual refreshment this very day, as we find the proper direction, with Him.