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There are many rooms in my Father’s House

Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

In the gospel reading of today taken from John 14:1-12 we hear of three consolatory statements of Jesus to his disciples. Jesus knew that his departure from this world will sadden and create fear among his disciples. So before he departs, Jesus gave them words of encouragement and hope. The three consolatory statements that he gave to his disciples over two thousand years ago are still very relevant to us today.

First consolatory statement: Jesus says to his disciples, “do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God and trust in me” (John 14:1). Jesus is saying, there is no reason for us to afraid and to lose courage. Every troubled heart always finds comfort and hope in Jesus. John 16:33: “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus invites us. “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Nothing happens to you without the knowledge of the Father. In Isaiah 43:1 we hear: “but now, thus says the Lord, your creator, O Jacob, and he who formed you, O Israel, do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.”

The condition necessary for our troubled hearts to experience peace is trust. Jesus says: “trust in God and trust in me (Jesus)” (John 1:14). Another word for trust is faith. When we come to Jesus in trust we find solution to our problem. Psalm 121:2 says: “our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.” In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says: “Ask you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” Most times we are discouraged about our situation and think that our problem is bigger than God or that God does not help us. Thinking like that has had led a lot of persons to seek help from other means other than Christ, thereby bringing sorrows to themselves. Psalm 16:4 says: “those who chose other gods bring many troubles on themselves.” In John 15:5 Jesus says: “cut away from me you can do nothing.” In the first reading of today, it was the trust and belief in the power of the risen Jesus that helped the apostles solve the problem of the early Christian. When they elected the men that will help in the distribution of food, they prayed for them. The community once again enjoyed peace.

The second consolatory statement:  Jesus to his disciples: “There are many rooms in my father’s house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). In Luke 9:33, at the Transfiguration, when Peter said to Jesus: “let us build three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah” Jesus did not answer him, because in the kingdom of God there are not just three tents but many rooms. The rooms in the kingdom of God is for all of us because we are children of God. In Philippians 3:20 Saint Paul says: “but we are citizens of heaven, where the lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Saviour.” again in Ephesians 2:19 Saint Paul says: “therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens of the saints and members of god’s household.” Jesus tells us that he is going to prepare a place for us in his father’s kingdom. This is to fulfil the words of Isaiah 25:6-8 which says: “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food.” Why does the Lord need to prepare for us? Saint Peter answers it in the second reading when he says: “but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, consecrated nations, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

The condition necessary for us to take possession of our rooms in the Kingdom of God is Jesus Christ. Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Jesus does not point the way to our Father’s house; he is himself is the way. We have to go through him. Last Sunday, Jesus tells us that he is the gate to the sheepfold (John 10:7,9). To pass through Jesus to the Kingdom of God means we must walk in his footsteps; model our lives on his life in purity. In Matthew 5:8 Jesus says: “Blessed are the pure of heart they, shall see God.” Psalm 24:3-4 says: “Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure….” And are generous. In Matthew 25:34 Jesus says to those who help the needy, God will say them: “Come you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

In the third consolatory statement, Jesus says to his disciples: “I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too” (John 14:3). The will of Jesus Christ is that we be with him forever in his Kingdom. In John 17:24 ,at the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus prays: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may always see my glory which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” The catechism of the Catholic church teaches that God made us: “to know him, love him, to serve him and to be with him forever in the next.” Jesus’s ascension to heaven is of advantage to us. He will return again to take us to where he is. The departure of Jesus physically in this world is not the end of everything or our relationship with him but only a beginning of many good things to come. Which is why in Matthew 28:20 Jesus says, “I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”

Indeed, Jesus will certainly return again. in Acts of the Apostles 1:11 on the day of the ascension, the angels say to the disciples as they watch Jesus ascending into heaven: “This Jesus who has been taken from you will return, just as you saw him go up into the heavens.” the church constantly reminds us of this fact in the creed: “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” But then what will be his purpose of his return? Hebrews 9:28 tells us: “Christ will appear a second time not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.” Christ’s return will be: to judge the living and the dead and to reward each of us according to our deeds. Jesus says in Matthew 16:27: “for the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” In Revelation 22:12, he says:  “and, behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to repay everyone as their deeds deserve.”

̶  Rev. Fr. Benson Irabor

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