A Cycle – 5th Sunday of Easter 23

A Cycle – 5th Sunday of Easter 23

Jn. 14:1-12

On the very night Jesus was to be arrested, He speaks to his disciples in that upper room. His words will be the last words they hear Jesus speak to them until His resurrection.  What He says to them in the upper room that night are words we should read and reread until they penetrate our hearts.  John recorded them for us in chapters thirteen through seventeen of his gospel.  He talks to us about servanthood and gives us an example by the shocking example of washing their feet.  Peter had every right to react as he did by saying you will never wash my feet.  It had to be humbling for the One through whom all things were created to wash his feet.  That act should humble us also as we consider what he did as he died on that cross for us. 

That night Jesus told them and us how we can do nothing apart from Him we can do nothing.  Yet, that is exactly the way we live our spiritual lives.  We are like Adam and Eve after they sinned. We want to be where He is, in the garden, but we avoid interacting with God. 

When Jesus tells them He is going to prepare a place for them, Thomas expresses our own inner thoughts of how we will get there. Are we on the right path? Are we doing the right things to deserve being in the presence of God?  He is clear, the only way to the Father is through Jesus but we find ourselves by doing things to become holy instead of allowing the Spirit to guide us to holiness.  We do things which seem holy, seem uplifting and they leave us wondering if we are acceptable to God.   

We are on the road to Emmaus and fail to respond to Christ while at the same time we feel a desire for something more because our hearts are responding and desiring more.  We need what they received that day and that was to have our eyes opened by the person of Jesus Christ.

Phillip, have you been with me all this time and still you do not know me?  There is a question each of us needs to ponder and sit with for more than just a few moments.  This is a question that can be the catalyst for a radical change in how we view Jesus, sin, and forgiveness.  I am the way and there is no other way to the Father.  It is not how many times we attend mass each week or how many spiritual exercises we do each week. It is not how much time we spend in prayer each week.  It is not how often we use our gifts to serve the community or how unique are our gifts. 

There is no way to earn the Father’s embrace but there is a way to feel that embrace every day and it is by embracing Jesus and what He did for us by His death and resurrection.   

Every word of Jesus reveals the Father to us. Every action of Jesus shows us how the Father reacts to our sinfulness and our stubbornness.  He waits for us to come to our senses and like the prodigal son we need to seek His embrace.  Take some time and sit with the question Jesus poses to Phillip.  “Phillip, have you been with me for so long and still you do not know me?”  “If you see me, you see the Father, do you not believe.” 

There is the number one question we all need to answer. With all we know about Jesus, do we believe God forgave our sin and removed the penalty of our sin on the cross?  If our answer to that question is yes, then why do we act as if we still need to earn our salvation? 

Either we believe or we are uncertain and need some assurance about what we believe.  Is not the resurrection proof enough for us?  Is not Jesus’s embrace of Peter after the resurrection proof that forgiveness is ours without us having to jump through hoops. 

Jesus poses those same questions to us in this gospel as He says, “believe in me or believe in the works that I do.”  Jesus is telling us to look at the various stories in the scriptures and we will discover God’s mercy is not offered us because of our goodness but because of God’s desire to love us into wholeness.  Jesus is telling us not only can we look to the stories in the scriptures but because He will empower us by the Spirit to do the same works He did and far greater.   

We undeserving of God’s grace will by tapping into the power of God witness healings, changed lives, joy where there is despair, peace where there is turmoil, and much more.  We will feel the love of God being poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We can and will experience the power and forgiveness; the love and touch of the Father and have our doubts changed to certainty.  We will feel the embrace of Jesus and discover the life, He offers us. 

We will grasp the height and depth of God’s love and the immeasurable scope of His power at work within us.   We will have certainty, purpose and we will never doubt God’s mercy is free flowing unmetered grace for all   We will discover who He created us to become – Sons and daughters of the living God, heirs to the promise and servants dedicated to making His name know to all who doubt.

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