Readings: Acts 13:26-33, Ps. 2:6-11, John 14:1-6

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1)

In today’s first reading, we read a part of St. Paul’s sermon to the believers at Antioch of Pisidia. This was his first recorded sermon in the Acts of the Apostles. Interestingly, the man who once persecuted the faith became its greatest promoter. As long as you have God on your side, even your greatest enemy today can become your best friend tomorrow. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus says: “Let not your hearts be troubled.” (John 14:1). Is it possible to live without worries? How can we avoid being troubled in our hearts? This brings us to today’s lessons:

1. Life Always Gives Us Reasons To Worry: The first key to overcoming worry is to know that problems never end. A popular pidgin English proverb is: “This life no balance. Wahala be like bicycle.” It means: While solving one problem, get ready for another one. Worrying is a natural reaction to life’s challenges, but you can decide to be calm. Jesus was in a boat with his disciples, and “there arose a great storm on the sea so that the waves swamped the boat, but He was asleep. And they woke him, saying, ‘Save, Lord; we are perishing.’ And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?’ Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:24-26). Jesus was not expecting his disciples to panic despite the great storm. Don’t wait for your problems to be over before permitting yourself a good night’s sleep.

2. How Do We Turn Off The Worry-Machine in Us? Jesus answers: “Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms.” In other words, the cure for constant worry is faith in God. Remember that the book of Hebrews defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). To have faith is to be assured of God’s protection even when all you see with your eyes is danger. To believe in God is to be convinced that God sees and knows what to do regardless of your present circumstances. A good athlete exercises faith to win a race by visualising themselves holding the medal even before the race starts. To have faith is to pray and work, trusting that God will bless your work and make it fruitful. Refusing to work after praying is not a sign of faith; it is putting God to the test and refusing to exercise wisdom.  

3. In My Father’s House Are Many Rooms: The second part of Jesus’ statement on how to stop worrying is to remind ourselves that this world is not our final destination. We are pilgrims on earth. Jesus once gave a parable of a man whose land yielded in abundance. The man was excited because his dreams came to pass; his problems were over. It was time to enjoy it because he wouldn’t have to work again. However, that same night, God demanded his soul. (Cf. Luke 12:13-21). While working to achieve your perfect life, remember that you must leave everything behind one day, and where you are going is better than where you are now. Jesus has prepared a place for us, and He will take us there when our time comes. If you must worry, worry about whether you are in a state of grace to enter heaven. Don’t worry about anything that will not matter once you die. Funnily, those are the things that give us sleepless nights. “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek his kingdom and righteousness first, and all these things shall also be yours.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

4. Even The Things You Don’t Like Are Working For Your Good: In today’s first reading, St. Paul says: “Brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you that fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognise him nor understand the utterances of the prophets read every sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning him.” (Acts 13:26-27). In other words, by hating and rejecting Jesus, the Jews helped to fulfil all the prophecies about Jesus. Do you know those making life tough for you right now are pushing you closer to your destiny? Only in hindsight have I realised that my worst moments were times of growth and great progress. One day, you will thank God for blessing you with the kind of troubles you have now.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, increase my faith and cast away my fears and worries. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

Remember, amid all challenges, choose to be happy. Live with a positive mindset and believe in God’s plan for you. God bless you abundantly. (Friday of the 4th week of Eastertide. Bible Study: Acts 13:26-33, Ps. 2:6-11, John 14:1-6).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu