Robert Frost’s famous poem “The Road Not Taken” is studied in many English classes. Countless school children have memorized and recited back the four stanzas that constitute the work. The 1920 composition is remembered most for its final three lines: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.” Taking the road less traveled has become synonymous with making bold choices in life that are in some ways counter-cultural. More than thirty years ago, M. Scott Peck even turned that image into an attempt to merge psychoanalysis and spirituality (along with a host of other things) into what would become a best-selling book. So successful was Peck’s book, that the actual title of the Frost poem is now confused in Internet searches and Web pages with the bestseller.
Thomas and Philip were also a bit confused in today’s Gospel. Jesus had to make plain to them that he is the way and the truth and the life that leads to the Father. Jesus clarified his interaction with the Father when he said to Philip, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). But the ultimate promise that Jesus makes in today’s Gospel is about the power that resides in the Christian. Jesus says that whoever believes in him will do greater works because Jesus is returning to the Father.
When John wrote his Gospel he was not shy about the gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus handed over to believers. That Spirit of God dwells in each of the baptized and empowers us to do the works of Christ. Those who were baptized at the Easter vigil just a few weeks ago, now share in that same out-pouring of the Holy Spirit that is within all of us who renewed our baptismal promises. God is there ready to work within us. Let’s take that