April 20, 2008 Year A
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Reflections on the Readings
By Dennis Hankins
Theme: A Place Called Home
Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?"
Within the house of the Father's heart, Jesus has prepared a place for you; so that where he is you may be also.
Today's Gospel is a discourse within the context of the Last Supper beginning with John 13:31 and ending at John 16:33. Although it is Jesus' farewell conversation about his impeding sacrificial death on the cross, we read the Gospel today with the illumination of the light of Easter.
Jesus is speaking with the joy of a bridegroom contemplating the time of permanent union with his bride, the Church. Like a bridegroom preparing a place for himself and his bride, Jesus by his death, burial and resurrection has prepared for us a place in the house of His Father's love; a place to call home.
It is this place of permanent fellowship within the Father's love Jesus intends to prepare through the sacrifice of himself. Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his beloved friends. Jesus addresses the anxiety of both Thomas and Philip, emphasizing they already know the way. Jesus then plainly says, " I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me." Jesus then speaks of the love that is the unity of the Father and the Son. Jesus says, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?" No one had ever spoken of such closeness and intimacy with God. Jesus is speaking of a new meaning of knowing God, a meaning that was not possible until the incarnation. It was Mary who first experienced by the Grace of the Holy Spirit what Jesus intends for all who will say yes to his divine proposal.
Today as we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, we become one with Him. Far from being a ritual we observe, it is a communion of the very life of Jesus. Within ourselves, the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus will touch our blood and flesh. In the Father's house, at the Table of the Lord, Jesus has prepared for us a place where we can know the embrace of the Father's love. Through Jesus we receive a welcome in the Father's house. It is a place called home for all who are weary and heavy laden. Safe within the embrace of the bridegroom of our souls we find a haven of rest. Within the hallowed place of our redemption, the story of love is recounted again and again, and our heart yields without reservation to the intentions of his love. No harm befalls the heart that trusts in the safety of this place, a place called home.
We can trust the lover of our souls. It is with the conviction of a true bridegroom that Jesus says, "If it were not so would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" Our hearts need not be troubled. It is Jesus the Christ who has shown us the love of the Father's heart. And in that divine place, the house of the Father's heart, Jesus has prepared for you and for me a place we can call home.
Let us pray: Dear Jesus, sometimes I wander from the care and attention of your love. Forgive me when my heart grows cold and I leave the house of your love. Draw me back to the place where I belong, and show me again the embrace of your gentleness. Amen.