Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
your Son Jesus Christ is to us
the way that leads to you and to one another,
the truth that is good news of love and hope,
the life which he sacrificed to give it.
Help us to show the way to him
and to go his way to one another,
to speak the truth that is encouraging and credible,
to give life by sharing happiness,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading – John 14,1-6
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house there are many places to live in; otherwise I would have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you to myself, so that you may be with me where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.
Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’
Jesus said: I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
3) Reflection
• These five chapters (Jn 13-17) are a beautiful example of how the communities of the Beloved Disciple of the end of the first century in Asia Minor, which today is Turkey, carried on the catechesis. For example, in chapter 14, the questions of the three disciples, Thomas (Jn 14, 5), Philip (Jn 14, 8) and Judas Thaddeus (Jn 14, 22) were also the questions and problems of the communities. Thus, the answers of Jesus to the three of them are like a mirror in which the communities found a response to their doubts and difficulties. To understand better the environment in which the catechesis was carried out, it is possible to do what follows. During and after the reading of the text, it is good to close the eyes and pretend that we are in the room in the midst of the disciples, participating in the encounter with Jesus. While we listen, it is necessary to pay attention to the way in which Jesus prepares his friends to separate themselves and reveals to them his friendship, communicating to them security and support.
• John 14, 1-2: Do not let your hearts be troubled. The text begins with an exhortation: “Do not let your hearts be troubled!” And immediately he adds: “In my Father’s house there are many places to live in!” The insistence in continuing to use encouraging words which help to overcome the trouble and the divergence is a sign that there was much polemic and divergence among the communities. One would say to the other: “Our way of living the faith is better than yours. We are saved! You live in error: If you want to go to heaven, you have to convert yourselves and live like we do!” Jesus says: “In my Father’s house there are many places!” It is not necessary that everybody thinks in the same way. The important thing is that all accept Jesus, the revelation of the Father and that out of love for him, they have attitudes of understanding, of service and of love. Love and service are the basis which unite the bricks and help the diverse communities to become a Church of brothers and sisters.
• John 14, 3-4: The farewell of Jesus. Jesus says that he is going to prepare a place and that afterwards he will return to take us with him to the Father’s house. He wants us to be with him forever. The return which Jesus speaks about is the coming of the Spirit that he sends and who acts in us, in such a way that we can live as he lived (Jn 14, 16-17.26; 16, 13-14). Jesus ends by saying: “You know the way to the place where I am going!” Anyone who knows Jesus knows the way, because the way is the life that he lived and which led him through death together to the Father.
• John 14, 5-6: Thomas asks which is the way. Thomas says: “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answers: “I am the Way, I am Truth and Life! No one can come to the Father except through me”. Three important words. Without the way we cannot go. Without the truth one cannot make a good choice. Without life, there is only death! Jesus explains the sense. He is the Way, because “No one can come to the Father except through me”. And he is the gate through which the sheep enter and go out (Jn 10, 9). Jesus is the truth, because looking at him, we see the image of the Father. “Anyone who knows me knows the Father!” Jesus is the life, because walking like Jesus we will be united to the Father and we will have life in us!
4) Personal questions
• What beautiful encounter of the past do you remember, encounters which give you the strength to continue ahead?
• Jesus says: “In my Father’s house there are many places”. What does this affirmation mean for us today?
5) Concluding Prayer
Sing a new song to Yahweh,
for he has performed wonders,
his saving power is in his right hand and his holy arm. (Ps 98,1)
Thank you to the good Carmelites at ocarm.org for this reflection.
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