(5th Sunday of Easter. Year A. Bible Study: Acts 6:1-11, Psalm 33, 1st Peter 2:4-9 and John 14:1-12).
Given that today’s Gospel passage is a repeat of the reading of Friday and Saturday, I am sure most of us are already familiar with the message, but that notwithstanding, the word of God is always fresh and new no matter how many times we hear it.
1. Let not Your Hearts be Troubled.
The words of Jesus in our Gospel passage today were spoken at a time Jesus was close to his betrayal and death. He needed to strengthen the faith of His disciples. Like these disciples, we all face challenges in life but then, no matter what may happen, let these words remain always at the back of your mind: “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.”
Whenever we are worried about anything, it is an indication of how much faith we have; big faith equals small worries but small faith equals big worries. What is the cure for a troubled heart? Jesus says: “Believe in God, believe also in me.” Believe in God. God knows, God sees, God understands, God cares and He always wants the best for you. Believe also in Jesus; He once lived in human flesh and he perfectly understands what you are going through.
Whatever crisis God allows in our lives, it is because he wants to use it to bring about something good. In the first reading, we read about a crisis in the early Christian community regarding the distribution of food. Out of this crisis, came the ordination of the first deacons in the church. As St. Paul would say: “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him…” (Romans 8:28).
What is that challenge you currently face? Are you walking through the valley of the shadow of death? Pray and don’t worry. Having committed a problem in God’s hands, you are not permitted to take it back and allow it to torment your mind. God is capable. Like a little baby in its mother’s back, hold on tightly to God and relax your mind.
2. In my Father’s House, are many Rooms.
With this statement, Jesus seeks to draw our attention away from this world; to make us think of heaven itself. In truth, none of our problems (the things that worry us now) will be relevant in heaven. As Jesus says: “And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself.” Jesus has already gone to prepare a place of rest and peace for us. We cannot live forever on earth. We are only pilgrims here. A better life awaits us in heaven, “what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1st Corinthians 2:9).
3. In the shoes of Thomas and Philip.
Anyone conversant with the writing style of John would notice he likes employing the conversational method whereby the message comes as a response to clear confusion or inform the ignorant party. Recall how Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the man born blind etc. all asked Jesus questions to which he provides deep answers.
In this passage, Thomas and Philip represent all of us and the state of our minds. We don’t want to miss heaven so like Thomas we ask for the way. And we want to know God more concretely so like Philip we ask to be shown the Father.
To these questions, Jesus says: “I am the Way, the truth and the Life…. I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” In other words, Jesus is the answer; Jesus is the solution; Jesus is the formula for solving all of life’s challenges and at the same time, Jesus is God. To put it simply, Jesus is all we need.
To have Jesus is to have everything and enjoy the best of life but to lack Jesus is to be a walking dead. In another passage Jesus would say: “cut off from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). If our relationship with Jesus suffers, we are most to be pitied because Jesus himself is our life.
4. A Royal Priesthood.
In our second reading today, St. Peter reminds us of our true identity as priests. We are priests because we are different, set apart; holy – we are living stones who offer spiritual sacrifices to God by the kind of life we live. And our Faith in Jesus is well rewarded by our accomplishments in life. As Jesus says: “He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do” (John 14:12).
In conclusion, the message for today is straightforward. If Jesus is truly in your life, then you have no reason to fear or be worried.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, draw me nearer to you every day. Amen.
Happy Sunday. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you.