Lectio Divina: Fifth Sunday of Easter. Cycle A

on 08 May, 2020
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Tamil Nadu (India), Sr. Anula Irvin Suguna, May 10, 2020.- “Are you confused which route to take… He is the Way! Are you seeking where to go…? He is the Truth! Are you troubled where to remain…? He is the Life!”.

Lectio Divina 05/10/2020 eng Download

 

GOSPEL

John 14: 1-12 

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going."  Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

STUDY OF THE TEXT

We are basking in the season of Easter and we are coming closer to celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. At this juncture, the Gospel text takes us back to the first Maundy Thursday, at the end of the last meal of Jesus, when Jesus explains that He is going to leave them and also about the forthcoming betrayal. It was the intimate moment of Jesus with His disciples, and the saddest moment when Judas went out of the room into the darkness. There was anxiety and fear in the hearts of the disciples. Then Jesus told them, “Let not your hearts be troubled…” Troubled would mean agitated, stressed and anxious. In the background of many crises and deep problems the optimism of Jesus shines like a lively and bright flame; do not let your hearts be troubled.   Even though His cross was only a few hours away, He urges His disciples not to lose heart.

At this situation…Jesus asks his deeply anxious disciples to turn their eyes and hearts in the direction of faith. He invites the disciples to believe in God and in Him. He speaks of God as His own Father and wants us to turn to this loving Father, a most tender Father. The word ‘believe’ means to TRUST or to ENTRUST yourself to God. Until we trust, our hearts are troubled.

Jesus says “In my Father’s house there are many rooms…I go to prepare a place for you? …” Our future is very secure because in our Father’s house there are many mansions. The analogy of the rooms refers not to the space but relationship. It is relationship where we all are God’s children. It is an extended family where all people are invited to belong to His family. If our Father clothes the lilies and the grass in the field… surely, He will take care of us. He also invites the disciples to come along with Him. The goal of human being is in God and Jesus is on the march. We human beings are called to be on this march towards God, the Father.

It was Thomas who asked Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” like Thomas, we also don’t know God, His ways, His plans… Jesus says, John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is a promise, a comfort to His disciples. Jesus is the path-finder. He is not only showing the way, but He is the Way. For the one who accepts the words of Jesus, life has meaning and is full of vigor. Union with Christ is the way to God’s home. Jesus is the way to what? Jesus is the way to know God, to live with Him, to have an experience of Him. Jesus’ way is the way to the Kingdom. It is the way of the Cross; and His death brings new life, eternal life. The truth is the divine reality, the goal of all thought and effort. Jesus is not just a guide to salvation; He is the source of life and truth. Jesus was the way to ‘true life.’ It is a life with beautiful meaning and true purpose to achieve eternal life. The ‘truth’ bridges ‘way’ and ‘life.’

Philip was a pragmatic person. To his request, “Lord, show us the Father.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? This is as if to say that Philip has not really experienced Jesus, he hasn’t known Jesus so far. But here Jesus echoes an affirmation from the prologue of John’s Gospel, “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made Him known” (Jn1:18). This is the whole mission of Jesus that is to make known the Father and to reveal Him to the world. He has come from the bosom of the Father and is now returning to Him.    

Jesus reveals that He is in the Father and whoever sees Jesus sees the Father. The relation between Jesus and the Father is further unfolded. If you want to know what God is like, you have to only look at Jesus. It is only the God-like or Christ-like, the pure in heart who can see God. This would rule out, then, most of us. But the purer we become, the clearer we see God. But the clearer we see God, the purer do we grow.  The scripture tells us that one day we shall see Him as He really is. This open vision will burn up everything that is unworthy in us and cleans away every sin.

Jesus continues to instruct; very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. It is a difficult saying to understand. One who believes in Jesus will do greater works than Jesus! Greater works than healing and raising from the dead? How can these promises be true? We cannot expect to do greater works in the same way as Jesus did with miraculous power. Even miracles did not produce faith in some. There are two types of faith. One can believe in Jesus for the sake of the works. At His touch broken lives were mended, diseases were healed, unclean spirits came out and many signs were performed. But Christ seeks from us something much deeper and more fundamental than that.  “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (Jn 20:29). It is not that the Apostles or disciples will be greater than Jesus; but that the Apostles’ power comes from Christ and after His Ascension He will do greater works through them as His emissaries to the world. Yet wherever there is healing, reconciliation, selfless service happening, there is the work of God. Wherever, people experience life in abundance and joy of living a common home feeling, Jesus is present with the Father and the Spirit. 

MEDITATION 

  • If we belong to Jesus, we have a good reason not to be troubled. In our lives, especially these days horrible fears pounce upon us, the incurable disease like corona and other dreadful diseases, financial crisis, uncertainty, unemployment, violence, corruption, betrayal, pollution, etc. A storm of panic sweeps even the most faithful people. Often our hearts are troubled when we do not understand God’s ways in our lives. Abiding with Jesus, is abiding with the Father and in His love. If we really put our trust in the Lord and entrust our concerns to Him, He will abide with us and we will be saved. Our troubles that are like mountains will become like dust.
  • Our center is the person of Christ. Our work, our life, our relationship, our communication flows from this relationship with Jesus. Have we kept the center of focus correct, our motivation strong, our hopes and trust in Him alone? If I am connected to Jesus truly, I will be able to let go any differences and embrace even the most difficult person as part of my community or family. I will extend my family relationship.
  • The Gospel presents Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Without the way we cannot go, without the truth one cannot make a good choice and without life, there is only death. We know Jesus from the Scriptures, from the Teachings of the Church, from the Tradition, from our parents, teachers, friends and relatives. But do we really know Him personally? We might have studied about Jesus, visited the places He lived, but have we known Him in the depth of our heart, in deep prayer and contemplation? Being conformed to Jesus' way is to model our lives on the way of humility and obedience. It is to be persons of self-giving love. Then one can endure the Cross and share in His resurrection.
  • What is the only thing that is true in this world? We are living in a world which makes us believe in the unreal as real. The unreal is very attractive, beautiful, wonderful, appealing, stunning, gorgeous and so on. But everything seems to be temporary today, including commitment in relationship. Jesus is the TRUTH, in whom I can confide, trust and entrust myself to Him. How often do I confide in Him? 
  • Thomas, Philip and the other disciples saw Jesus; they lived with him, ate with him and argued with Him. They saw the face of the Father in the selfless Love of the Son Jesus, who is truly God and truly Man. By gazing on the crucifixion of Jesus, they saw the love of the Father. The Israelites saw the Brazen serpent in the wilderness and all those who were bitten by the poisonous snake regained their life. In the self-less love of the disciples the world saw the face of the Father and the Son Jesus. You and I have the opportunity to see the Father every day in the Holy Eucharist, when Jesus is lifted up. We touch Him, taste the love of the Father and the Son, and receive His Spirit. Do the people around me see the love of the Father, the Son and the Spirit in me and through me? Are we enraptured by Him!

Our whole life on this earth is oriented towards a better life, a life filled with joy. But the truth or the ultimate reality is that our true homeland is the house of our Father in heaven. If we follow the way that Jesus shows us we will have life and we will be with God. We have a great model in Bl. Marie Poussepin who trusted in the Providence of God especially in moments of adverse situations. She entrusted her family to Him, her daughters into His care, her mission to Him, her plans, visions and dreams into His loving hands. She gazed on the Crucified Lord and drew strength from the Eucharist. Her life of humility, obedience and self-giving love clearly explain that Jesus was her WAY, TRUTH and LIFE. 

PRAYER 

God, we love you, we thank you for watching over us, caring for us and providing for us what we need. The night before you died, you said, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust in me.’ In the midst of all our anxieties and uncertainties help us to go on trusting in the Father and in you. Lord, you have gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us in the Father’s house. We ask you to prepare us also for that happy place.  Help us Lord to know your way, by following the path of humility and obedience. Help us to accept you as our True Savior and gaze on you to receive eternal life. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. May Bl. Marie Poussepin intercede for us on our way to the Father’s House. 

CONTEMPLATION 

  • I will not let my heart be troubled.
  • I trust in the Lord who is my way, truth and life. I want to remain enraptured by Him.
  • Gazing on crucified Jesus, I receive strength to be obedient, humble and self-giving.