Introduction: In the previous chapter 13, Jesus began to prepare his disciples for his departure to the Father. The separation was not going to be easy neither for him nor for his disciples who never expected their Master to leave them by the way of the cross, or for the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter. Jesus knew that his disciples’ hearts will be troubled for what he said, for what they will see, and experience in their not distant future. So, Jesus will help them to overcome his departure and the emotional shocks they encounter.
Thank you for showing us
The way to be with you through
Your Son Jesus. Increase in us
The desire to live in you in this present life
And the hope to live one day with you
In Eternity. Amen
1. Read the text John 14:1-4 read the text slowly and listen attentively with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
2. Reflect: read the text again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
3. Respond: read the text again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this text lead you to ask for from the Lord?
4. Stay with the Word: read the text a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Do not say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
5. Take now the word, sentence, or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word leads you to action.
Conclude your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
After the washing of the disciples’ feed, Jesus continues with his farewell discourse, which is not only about his ascension to the Father but to open the way to the place he had prepared for all us which is our final home where Jesus wants us to be too. But He urges us to believe and trust in God and in him. I suggest that, before going further in our reflection, let us ponder for a few moments Jesus’ words as if we were present there when he delivered his message to his disciples. And let us ask ourselves what could those words mean for us at this moment of our lives?
Central Message: “Do not let your hearts be troubled!” “Trust in God and trust in me!” “I go to prepare a place for you”.
a) “Do not let your hearts be troubled!” Notice that these words came after Jesus had told Peter that he was to deny him three times before the cock crows. Those words shocked Peter as he did not see himself capable of doing such a thing. His heart was troubled. Jesus’ words made an also echo in the ears of the rest of his disciples, as he also knew that their hearts were troubled when he told them plainly “one of you will betray me”, they all were puzzle and confused wondering who would that be; and when he said “I shall be with you only a little longer”, they knew of course the perils of Jesus in the hands of the elders and the rulers of the Jews who wanted him to be put to death. They were afraid of losing him. Thus, fear invaded their hearts that Jesus had to express those comforting and reassuring words to be able to face and overcome those unpleasant situations. Jesus’s words are also meant for us, as we experience many difficult and challenging situations whereby our hearts are troubled, when a close relative or best friend dies; when someone we love is fighting for his/her life due to a terminal disease; when we are about to lose a job and have nothing to pay the mortgage with; when we fear of being infected by covid-19 and not having anyone near to help us to reach the hospital on time; when we are deceived by our best friend in front of our own eyes, etc. Jesus knows well when our hearts are trouble, because he himself experienced it when his friends were mourning the dead of Lazarus ( Jn 11:38-40), but he assures us that his presence in us is stronger than anything that can disturb us. It is enough to believe in Him. We cannot avoid stress or fear, but we can overcome them by his soothing words and his presence.
b) “Trust in God and trust in me!” In the previous verse Jesus was trying to console his disciples and reassure them for his departure saying “don’t let your hearts be troubled” and asks on their part to believe and trust in God and in him, which is an imperative to make things happened and a condition for a disciple to persevere in times of trouble, discouragement, frustration, and rejection. Jesus had already foreseen these things that they will encounter, when he will express it later in the Gospel “they will treat you like this on account of My name” (Jn 15:21). But trust in me, I will be with you always (Mt. 28:20), I ask the Father to keep you from the evil one (Jn 17:15). So, faith and trust are essential to our spiritual journey because no one is immune to any shortcomings or the things that troubled our heart that may affect our entire lives. The experience of trust in Jesus’ life is exemplary, he trusted the Father up to the end of his human life on the cross “into your hand I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46).
c) “I go to prepare a place for you”. We have here more encouraging words for Jesus’ disciples to cope with fear, fear of death. They are also words of hope as Jesus tells them that there are many rooms in God’s house and that he is going to prepare a place for them. Jesus’ departure is not an abandonment, but he goes away to prepare a place for them in God’s house and will come back again to take them with him where he will be. This is a new revelation unfolded to the disciples that in the Father’s house there is an assured place for them where he wants them to be. When we think of God’s dwelling place we think somewhere up there in the vast cosmos, we say in heaven. It is not necessarily a material home but a place in the bosom of the Father in communion with the Son. So, Jesus’ desire is that all of us may be one day with them and in them, in that perfect union and communion of love and relationship. “After he has gone, he will come again to take us with him so that where he is, we also may be”. To be there we need first to die and that is what scares us, because who would like to die. But if we believe in Jesus’s words, they will bring certainty and desire to be living in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, sooner rather than later.
Some questions for our reflexion:
1. What is troubling you right now? How do you cope with it?
2. How is like for you to trust in Jesus when troubles come your way?
3. how do think will be the best way to prepare yourself to be one day in God’s house?