I recall when I was a child and you planned a trip by car, the road map was an essential part of the planning. Certain companies specialized in printing very elaborate maps that showed you the fastest route or the most scenic one. There was always a map of the state in the glove compartment, as well as maps of the larger cities that you frequently visited. For the most part, paper maps like these have disappeared or they are difficult to find. I cannot remember when I last used a printed map. The GPS or some other gadget has taken its place. The means may be different today but the idea is the same. Everyone wants to know which road to take, and we are lost without a guide.
We can understand Thomas’ confusion in the Gospel, when our Lord tells His disciples that He is going to prepare a place for them (cf. John 14:2-6). Thomas says, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” (John 14:5).
Our Lord is, of course, preparing them for what will take place. He is taking the road that leads to His Passion and Death, and the disciples must be prepared. He wishes to strengthen them to face the “scandal” of the cross. The Resurrection will follow, but from all indications in the Gospel the disciples did not yet grasp the reality of that final victory.
So, our Lord answers the question of Thomas by saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Our Lord is not just the map or GPS that charts the way. He is the way. He is not merely reliable as a good map would be. Our Lord is the truth that assures us of the way ahead. And, most especially, He is the destination because He is life itself.