Reflection: Fifth Sunday of Easter

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Acts 6:1-7`; Ps.32; 2nd Reading – 1Pt.2:4-9; Gospel – Jn.14:1-12]

Jesus, in today’s gospel, is like a child boasting about his ‘daddy’.  He is trying to reassure his disciples that the Father in heaven has prepared a place in his house for them, so that when the time comes, they will be with Jesus.  Even though Jesus is trying to explain as simply as he could, it is no surprise that the disciples still did not understand him.

In fact, we have two of his intimate friends and apostles, Thomas and Philip, who question Jesus while he is still talking.  Thomas is asking Jesus about where he is going, as if he was not paying any attention to what Jesus was saying… Philip asks Jesus to see the Father, again, as if Jesus was not clear enough in telling them that he and the Father are one…  These two, together with all the other disciples, did not understand and therefore were having problems in following Jesus’ line of thought.  Here, Jesus is trying to help them understand his relationship with the Father.  He is telling them how strong and how mighty his Father is …  but despite all this, the disciples still ended up with the same usual effect … that of total confusion!  We can almost sense the frustration which Jesus must have felt when Jesus shows amazement on asking Philip: “Have I been with you all this time, and you still do not know me?”  If they were paying some attention, their response would have surely been different.

Jesus’ words of encouragement are very beautiful: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God still, and trust in me”.  But they were not ready to trust in God and to trust in Jesus!  They were not ready to ‘not let their hearts’ be troubled…  They were not ready to ‘listen’ to what Jesus had to say.  It is clear that they were expecting Jesus to say things that they wanted to hear!!!  Therefore with this attitude and expectation, of course they got confused and were unable to understand what was actually said.  What Jesus is saying here is a summary of many other things that he had said many times before: that they are to trust in the Father… and in Jesus himself as the one sent by the Father…; that the Father has prepared a place for them so that they can always have Jesus with them…; that Jesus is going to leave them but then he will return…;  that Jesus and the Father are one…; that Jesus was sent to do the Father’s will…; and those who believe in Jesus will perform the same signs of the presence of the Father…  These are all things that Jesus had said to them before, but still they struggled to believe and therefore to understand…

In today’s gospel Jesus also tells them that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He adds “No one can come to the Father except through me.”  This is a clear echo of what we heard last Sunday.  There, he said that he is the Gate of the Sheepfold and that the Father is the Gatekeeper.  There, Jesus spoke about himself being the one through whom the Shepherd and the sheep have the freedom to pass through.  Here, Jesus is saying the same thing except now he is not speaking about those who want to know the Father.  In other words Jesus is telling his disciples that if they want to understand and therefore do the will of the Father they are first to understand Jesus in what he was doing and saying.

Jesus, we said, is like a small child speaking about his “daddy”.  And as small children we are invited to let ourselves go into the Father’s hands and trust in God the Father and in Jesus…  And to help us do so, Jesus is inviting us to ‘not let our hearts be troubled’… If we trust in God wholeheartedly, then we understand the full meaning of all these.  In our world today, with all advancement in all aspects of life, we still struggle to believe what Jesus said two thousand years ago.  We easily believe what others say … what the media tell us … but we find it difficult to accept what Jesus said.  And these words, as Jesus himself put it, are not his words, but the Father’s.  If only we were more attentive to accept the word of God as it truly is!!!

“Lord, it is not the first time that you spoke about the relationship that you have with the Father in heaven.  It is not the first time that you told us that you are in the Father and the Father is in you.  It is not the first time that you told us you came to do the Father’s will.  Give us the wisdom that we need to be able to accept your word in our life, to trust and to believe what you said and therefore share your presence in our life.  Thank you Lord!”

 

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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