Acts of the Apostles 6: 1-7 + Psalm 33 + Peter 2, 4-9 + John 14: 1-12
May 7, 2023
This homily was not delivered during the Liturgy as I am at the Maronite Parish in Tequesta, FL
In John’s Gospel the final night of Jesus’ life is five chapters in length. We pick up today verses from near the end. As with Moses, Joshua, David, and Tobit, the leader gathers his family and closest friends to bid them farewell and offer insight into the future giving some final instructions. We must sense that intimate moment in these verses today. Jesus is about to leave. He gives us some final words of encouragement and consolation: Be faithful to God’s Word and Law, Remember and live what I have taught you. Better days are coming.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, he says to those around him. Yet, they are troubled, and so are we troubled about so many things that seem so wrong, so difficult, so contradictory. In these days, the talking heads on television and elected officials are all trying to frighten us and scare us into accepting their ideologies promising things they can never deliver. The gentle comforting words of Jesus are nearly lost in the noise, threats, and fears some think will motivate us to believe their lies and self-serving dreams for the future.
For those of us who gather around and listen to the one leader who speaks the truth to us, there is hope and peace in the midst of all this noise that could frighten and confuse the best of us. The disciples are confused and very frightened, and like them we can hear the Word of God and trust what we hear.
In Matthew, Mark, and Luke there is always great concern over the identity of Jesus. They are always asking, “Who is this?” In John’s Gospel the question is not “who” but “where.” “Where are staying? Where are you going? Where are you from” asks Pilate near the end. Even on Easter, Mary wants to “where they have taken him.” What John reveals to us is that “where” is not a place or location. It is an inner communion that rests on belief in God and in Jesus Christ. What Jesus offers us and desires for us is that same relationship with God that he enjoys. It is that union with “The Father” that keeps him calm, focused, and faithful even when everything around him is falling apart and everyone around him is running for cover.This is not an easy thing to grasp, let alone begin to follow. Yet, we do know the way into the untroubled heart of God because Jesus is the way. While some continue to shout their frightening ideologies that polarize us and lead us to deaminize anyone different from us, a quiet voice can still be heard calling us to follow, to find in our faith the way to peace and justice that is found only where God dwells in the hearts of God’s people. Where there is mercy, there is God. Where there is justice, there is the Just One. Where there is forgiveness we shall find the forgiver, because, “the one who believes in me will do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these.”