Sunday, 7th May 2023
I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father, except through me.
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 may 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.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”
These consoling and encouraging words, spoken by Jesus to the Apostles at the Last Supper, come immediately after Judas left to betray Jesus and after Jesus told Peter, in the presence of the others, that Peter would deny Jesus three times before the cock crowed. As a result, the Twelve (now Eleven) would have been discouraged, especially Peter. Jesus senses this and says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”
Peter was told that he would soon commit a grave sin against Jesus. As we are later told, as soon as Peter committed these sins, he went out and wept bitterly. Perhaps, as he did, he would have recalled Jesus’ words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”
Being tempted toward sin can be discouraging. But that can turn into a good thing. If we are not affected by our temptations, then we lack love for God. And if we give into those temptations and fail to experience sorrow, this is even worse. However, discouragement over our sins cannot remain; it must turn into its opposite, the virtue of hope. Hope will result from sin only when we hear and understand Jesus’ promise, seen above.
Jesus not only tells the disciples not to be troubled, He also tells them why. Jesus promises them He will prepare a place for them in Heaven and will come to take them to that place in His Father’s House, despite their failings. By believing, Peter and the other apostles will be able to dispel the initial discouragement they feel over their failings and turn back to God with the anticipation of Heaven.
Do you get discouraged by your sin? Begin by calling to mind any sin that you regularly struggle with. Habitual sin, especially, will lead to either sorrow, repentance and hope, or to a discouragement that ends in despair and the abandonment of virtue. Like Saint Peter, we must strive to weep bitterly over our sins. We must let our sins, and the temptation toward despair, become a motivation to regain hope, courage, and determination. This will only be possible if we always hear Jesus say to us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” We must sense His compassion and tenderness and allow that love to fill us with confidence that we will one day overcome all sin and be welcomed into the Father’s House.
Reflect, today, upon any sin with which you regularly struggle. As you do, consider whether your discouragement leads to despair or hope. Hope does not come from your ability to overcome sin on your own. It comes from the compassion of our Lord and His promise to redeem you. If you do have a troubled heart, that is good. It is the starting point for hope. Allow Jesus to lift your troubled heart and to point your eyes to Heaven.
Most compassionate Lord, though I am a sinner, You speak to me with tenderness and call me to repent so that I will always have hope in Heaven. Please give me a true and holy sorrow for my sins and help me to always turn back to You so that You will one day lead me to the fullness of the Father’s House. Jesus, I trust in You.
From Catholic Daily Reflections com