Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

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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 will 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.’ (John 14:1-6)

There is so much in this short Gospel passage. The first thing Jesus does is to reassure us. “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” He was addressing his disciples here in this passage before He was arrested, abused, and crucified. He was telling them something that they could not know yet by experience. After his resurrection his words must have come back to them with a sudden aha!

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We know the fullness of Jesus’ life because we are post resurrection people. We know that he truly is the way, the truth and the life that we all desire to know, to love, and to serve in this life, so that when he comes again at the end of time, we will be able to live with Him forever in the next life. We know His love for us is unconditional, merciful and everlasting. We know that His love for us cannot be shaken. We know too, that what Jesus was saying to his disciples here in this passage, He says to us. He is addressing them, and us, with the affection of the deepest of friends. He is reassuring us that his deepest desire is that we might come to dwell with Him in that most beautiful and joyous of places, His Father’s House.

The imagery Jesus uses here is so familiar. By “familiar” I mean that He is speaking to us as part of his family. He does not use the abstract, more formal theological word of “Heaven” here; He use the words “my Father’s house.” Jesus is no distant Olympian god, indifferent to us. In the final verse of the passage above Jesus says, “if you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:7) Jesus and the Father are One. You see one, you see the other. You believe in one, you believe in the other. Jesus shows us how God loves us intimately, personally. In Jesus we see how the Father relates to us as “family,” and how He desires that we live with Him in His house, in His very home, forever.

Our hearts need not be troubled if we believe in Jesus. If we believe in Jesus we will do as Jesus did; we will love one another as brothers and sisters. We will make no distinctions, claim no superiorities. We will not judge, and we will not be judged. We will not condemn, and we will not be condemned. We will forgive, and we will be forgiven. We will give to all others, and God will give back to us. The measure of “familial” love we give to others is the measure of familial love we will be given back by God. (Luke 6:37-38)

In short, Jesus is telling us that he thinks of us as His family, as His sons and daughters, His brothers and sisters. He has shown us the truth of that. He has shown us the way of how we are to live in the world. He has shown us what life is really about, behind all the distractions and illusions of the world. More importantly, He is telling us who, in faith, strive mightily in this life to live in accord with His way, His truth, and His life, that on the Last Day, He “will come back again and take us to Himself.” He will welcome us home with His “familiar” embrace. And we will finally know the true meaning of “being home.”

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