Something a bit different today – the entire gospel of the day, with my addition of brief reflections. There may be something for everyone here.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.
We all feel troubled at times, and our hearts are restless. It’s all very well for Jesus to tell us not to be troubled, but when we are troubled it’s not easy to shift the feeling. While much of our energy goes into achieving feelings that we like, the fact is that none of the projects and goals we use to keep us focussed seem to deliver the contentment they promise. If Jesus wants us to not be troubled, he has the power to un-trouble us. All we need to do is ask.
Trust in God still, and trust in me.
It can be difficult to trust. We have all been hurt and too often we notice our scars and ignore the wounds beneath. Jesus has the desire and the power to heal our wounds. When we try to trust we often end up wrestling with our demons. That’s hard work and we never feel as though we are winning. Invite Jesus to give you the gift of trust. Any effort you might have put into trying to trust, put instead into asking Jesus to heal the wounds that make it difficult for you to trust.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I should 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 with me; so that where I am you may be too.
This passage is often read at funerals, especially when the one who has died didn’t fit the stereotypes of standard religious behaviour. I like that. Heaven is a big place. The idea of a heaven where saved souls sit on clouds playing harps and singing in celestial choirs is not all that appealing. A heavenly banquet might appeal to more of us, but when we have had our fill we soon seek another room with different themes and occupations.
Too often we reduce the life of God to a narrow regime of moral and legal behaviour. The problem is that most of us, especially as we grow, don’t fit the uniform too comfortably. So if we are not made to fit a religious mould, who or what is our model? This is where we need the direction given by an ultimate goal. This leads us to the final section of today’s gospel:
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, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’
I have reflected before about Thomas as the first adult follower of Jesus. (3 minute FFF video at this link) He knows that he needs to experience (touch, see and hear) before he can believe, then he responds wholeheartedly: “my Lord and my God!” In this passage we see Thomas asking an obvious question of Jesus. Perhaps the others are too shy or not concentrating, but Thomas wants to know more. Jesus responds explaining (as we have recalled earlier this week) that relationship with himself is relationship with the Father, since Jesus is the WAY, TRUTH and LIFE to the life that is more than we could ask or imagine, the life that is available to us not only today but eternally.
This reminds me of the great Ephesians prayer:
“that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
- You might recognise the pic above – I’ve used it before. For several years I made regular visits to the Chatham Islands as Parish Priest. The picture brings back good memories of those visits and the wonderful people of the islands.
- There has been a great response to my invitation for prayer intentions inviting FFF readers to pray for those whose names or initials I receive as intentions. I will also offer Mass for these intentions. Send your prayer requests to email@example.com. Each day I will add the initials of those we pray for to this list:
Let us pray today especially for:
SS, BK, JKBP, CP, PP, BW, HT (RIP), SL, AW, DM, MM, PM, LH, TN, SF, SC, FM, T&TT, AR, HF, RF, JM, R&B, MC, MD,
BH, SGS, JJHB, SJB, BB, MD, MB, JT, RF, SS, SS, PB, SD, JR, SQ, JL, MC
from earlier this week
SM, PR, MJ, MD,
- Pray to Sleep (a ten minute bedtime audio reflection) at this link.
- Today’s readings at this link.
LECTIO DIVINA FOR FRIDAY OF EASTER WEEK IV (8 May 2020)
The Lectio and Pray to Sleep recordings have been much more popular than I imagined so over the next few weeks I will try to improve the quality of these by getting some real recording hardware. Watch this space and thanks for coping with the low quality at the moment.
Pictures received of any churches that have been significant in your faith journey will be included as the images on the daily Lectio Divina links. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s church. St. John the Evangelist in Orewa. Thanks Barbara.
Friday Easter Week IV (15 minutes)
Friday Easter Week IV (25 minutes)
This has brought such hope, that Jesus will come and take us to the Father, so we don’t have to worry about where He is, Jesus will show us the way!
Thank you Barbara for the picture of St John the Evangelist Church, my husbands family church in Orewa., and a beautiful place of Worship.
I like Thomas. The evidence of his own eyes was contrary to what the others said – until he saw the truth for himself and then acknowledged the truth. This was prior to the holy spirit coming down upon them. Today we have both a recorded history in the Bible and the Holy spirit to open our eyes to the truth, even if we don’t physically see Jesus. I am thankful for disciples like Thomas who question or doubt but are open minded and humble enough to look, discover and admit the truth. I can relate to that.
Thankyou, Fr John! This Gospel was a favourite of my Mum, a very faithful Convert. And yes, we used it for her Funeral!
Jane, I am so pleased you enjoyed seeing St John’s in Orewa. It has been such a “safe haven” for me in the many struggles after leaving ChCh, family, friends and my “spiritual homes” after the earthquakes . Jesus in the Eucharist is always constant no matter where we are.
Nothing wrong with the recording quality Father what these bring to us is 101 Jesus Father and Spirit heralded by the bells. Bless you and thank you.
Dear John thank you for your faithfulness in preparing these vignettes for our reflection and benefit. My understanding is that in Jesus’ time when a man married he went with his wife, and lived in his Father’s house – in anticipation of the wedding the Father extended the house by adding a room for them. The day of the wedding was decided by the Father and he announced the day and that was it. It is an insight into the many metaphors used in Jesus’ words.
Thank you (again) Fr John for a wonderful and insightful reflection. To me you have wonderfully illustrated the benefits we may gain through reflecting on the passages in a reading. I will copy this and reread again in the future!
I really liked the gospel of today with your reflections following each section. Really helped me to hear what God is saying to me and reflect on it. Thank you.
Thank you Father John. The reflection on troubles stood out to me and the failure of our efforts to fulfill our expectations of earthly goals and endeavours The way that Jesus shows through love and service to others brings much more fulfillment to our lives. Nice in a way that it’s easier to give than receive.