Chapter Talk – Fifth Sunday of Easter – May 7, 2023, cycle-A
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’ (Jn 14:1). These words open the gospel for this Sunday. Of course, our hearts are going to be troubled. This is part of our human nature and being ‘troubled’ will happen over and over again for many reasons and for reasons that we often don’t even understand. Still the Divine voice tells us ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’. If we are receptive to receiving this voice what effect does it have upon us? The troubling situation may not have changed, but what about our heart? Do we not feel a little lighter? Whatever is troubling us is put into a larger horizon: the horizon that we are never alone…God is with us…and it is this reality that this gospel is encouraging us to remember and to lean on.
The next words from Jesus are “You believe in God, believe in me also”. ‘Believing’ in John’s gospel means ‘live into’…or we could also say ‘lean into’. This is a living faith, a faith that is alive and active within and without. Always a choice is before us: do we lean on ourselves, or do we lean on God? What horizon will we live into? One that becomes shrunken by our fears and anxieties or one that holds to the larger horizon of God’s life. Are we able to say during those times when we are troubled ‘show me your way’ or ‘your will be done’ or ‘O God come to my assistance’? Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his homily for this Sunday: “In the light of our faith in Jesus Christ – “the way and the truth and the life” – we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words. The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33)” (Homily, April 20, 2008). To live in the Divine truth and the Divine life means self-surrender and its fruit is freedom, freedom of spirit. We surrender our limited often partial truth to God where grace will give us a deeper, fuller, and purer truth. And this prayer encounter will elicit true freedom.
This gospel is spoken by Jesus just before his passion and death. He is leaving, yet the disciples are not abandoned. He leaves them an entire horizon of his life and teaching, his embodiment of God’s life and love. So, he departs and yet he will return. He has left us the ‘way’, the eternal paradigm of Divine truth and life. This way, this truth, this life pulsates in the depths of our being…it pulsates throughout the world. It lives on with or without us. Each time we connect to it and live from it we are incarnating the fullness of his life with his Abba. Pope Benedict XVI added: “Real freedom, then, is God’s gracious gift, the fruit of conversion to his truth, the truth which makes us free (cf. Jn 8:32). And this freedom in truth brings in its wake a new and liberating way of seeing reality. When we put on “the mind of Christ” (cf. Phil 2:5), new horizons open before us!”. Is this not what we all desire and long for? Is this not why we are all here? Then let us not keep ourselves burdened and imprisoned by our past hurts and wounds. These can become a source of grace and empowerment but only to the degree that we convert to the truth that makes us free…The truth of ourselves is a mixture of stuff and often what we call the truth or say is the truth is way too wrapped up in these past hurts. So, it is a journey that we are on. There is no quick fix to that freedom in truth that gifts us with a ‘new and liberating way of seeing reality’. He is leaving; he is returning; he is preparing a place for us. We already know that place: it is revealed every time we are converted to his truth and his life. which radically changes how we see one another, ourselves, and the reality that is before us.
Sr. Kathy DeVico, Abbess