The Gospel according to John (14:1-6)
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, 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.”
Today’s gospel reading is my favorite gospel. I use it almost exclusively at ever funeral I do throughout the year. It is a gospel of great promise, comfort and hope.
Jesus begins this gospel with a personal challenge for each of us. Don’t be troubled over the death or loss of someone we know or love. But as we dig deeper into those few words we see the challenge is not about focusing on the loss but upon the gift of eternal life. Have faith Jesus says. Have hope because here is what is prepared for you as you come home to Me and my Father. The promise in today’s gospel applies to everyone who hears the voice of the good shepherd.
So many times I think we loose sight of what we are working towards in life. We forget that everything we do either prepares us to live eternal life with God or we choose a path that allows us to drift away and forget about the promise Jesus tells us in the gospel today. Life many times can be a distraction from heaven. Life also gets messy and we don’t have to look very hard to see that messiness in our world today.
In my own life it has been sad for me to have to say goodbye to my parents and in-laws. It has been hard to loose friends along the way as well. But the promise of the gospel today reminds me that there is hope and a promise that we will see each other again and when we do, it will be forever.
So how do we apply this gospel in today’s world? While we walk through our crazy world and work on ourselves, striving for that prize of heaven, we have to stop, look and ponder the question of how did our world get to where it is today. Why is there so much conflict, anger, hate and selfishness? We are called to not loose hope, not loose faith, that Jesus and the Father have a plan for us that will bring us to heaven at the end of our journey. But in the meantime we all have a mission here and that is to serve others and help diminish the anger pain and suffering we come across.
I find great comfort in Jesus’ words in this gospel. He says that He will come back and take us – you and me – to Himself and to the place He has prepared in heaven. Remember that it was Jesus who said this, not an apostle or prophet so there cannot be any mistake or false promise! Jesus wants us to live with Him and other faithful members forever in His house. We are blest to be called into that wonderful relationship with Jesus and all we must do in life is trust Him, serve Him and listen to Him in our daily prayer.
Remember that if we simply walk with and follow Jesus we will see the Father and all those who have faithfully gone before us. What an amazing promise to look forward to.
Take a few minutes today to sit and reflect on all your family and friends that are now at home in heaven. Try and see their faces glowing in God’s presence and how they wait for the day that we join them. See how happy and peaceful they are.