5 EASTER YEAR A – “DO NOT LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED”
‘Do not your heart be troubled. Believe in God, in addition believe in me.’
1 What Jesus opens for us with his return to the Father. ‘What he prepares for the heart.’
· This teaching was said while Jesus and the eleven reclined at table at the upper room. When the disciples were together.
- They are troubled: Jesus spoke of leaving his disciples. He asked them to love each other when he would be gone. He also asked them to love one another as he loved them while he was with them. It was all very depressing for these disciples. They did not understand the inwardness of it all.
- This situation Jesus meets with the comforting explanation of his departure.
· ‘Let not your heart be troubled.’ You should not be stirred up and shaken at the thought of my going away from you.
- This is very interesting that the Saviour orders it: ‘Stop letting your heart be troubled!’ because you have no reason to be troubled!
- (We have no reason to fear of anything, there is no impossible decision to face for us…)
- The departure of Jesus rightly understood is no cause for distress but the very contrary…
· Beside this negative command Jesus places a double positive command. ‘Believe in God, in addition believe in me.’
- This is not said meaning a general faith in God < It is said with reference to trust in God and in Jesus as regards the departure of Jesus.
· God sent Jesus on his mission and desires his return now that his mission is being completed. Jesus came on this mission, is now completing it, and thus returns to God. [Also, we should imagine, metaphorically speaking, the love between Jesus and his Father. Via this love, the Father ‘is missing him’!]
· And this mission, planned and carried out by God and by Jesus, opens heaven for the disciples and for all who believe as they do. In all this, the disciples must keep on trusting God and Jesus.
· We have to learn, with the disciples, to trust in Jesus as we believe in God. He is God through his divine nature! He is our God!
· This ‘double believe’ do not refer to blind but to intelligent belief. It is a great task which Jesus leaves us with. 1. We are baptised, it is a starting point. 2. We must learn and have to learn about our faith. 3. And just as he prepares heavenly mansions for us in Heaven, we have to understand our faith.
· ‘In the Father’s house there are many mansions’, permanent abiding places.
- ‘My Father’s house’ lends to the word ‘father’ and ‘our Father, who art in heaven’ a richer meaning. He has a house (oikia), a home, to which ‘household of God’ all his children shall be transferred.
- With only a stroke or two Jesus draws a picture which fills us pilgrims, who are still far from home, with both heavenly homesickness and the sure hope of soon reaching our home.
2 Something practical ‘for our heart’
· Today’s gospel also offers a practical teaching. Namely, how God ‘remains with our heart’… How he gives us support to persevere in goodness, choose what is good and say no to evil.
- Jesus’ return to the Father is a powerful resource. Whenever our ‘animal soul’ wants to prevail over our ‘godly soul’, God is standing next to our heart and gives us support. Actually, Jesus is whispering to our ‘godly soul’ what he has said in today’s Gospel. That ‘believe in the Father’ and ‘believe in me.’
- The source of our goodness is God, the Father’s house, our heavenly mansions.
- In the moments of our request and divine support, our ‘godly soul’ is flowing into the heart. Our decision to draw on God’s goodness generates an intense love in our heart and we will be able to say no to Evil, evil inclinations, and evil deeds.
‘A story about 9 seconds’
The disciple of the rabbi could not get rid of the negative thoughts popping into his mind. He arrives at a winter night. It is cold, he knocks on the rabbi’s door, he sees the movement inside, he hears noises. But nobody answers the door. ‘Please, let me in, it is cold out here… I am disciple after a long journey!’
Nothing happens. Nothing. He is banging, kicking, clapping. Nothing.
Next day when the guy shovels the snow away from the walkway and opens the door, asks the visitor. ‘What are you doing here?’
‘Are you kidding? I was banging your door.’ ‘What brings you here? What is the urgent matter, what happened?’ ‘I am struggling, I have these alien thoughts enter my mind… I cannot get rid of them, so I decided to come and see you.’
‘I already answered you!’ ‘When? We have not even talked yet?’ ‘No, I gave you my answer. You were ganging on my door all night, were not you? Did I let you in? No. You know why I did not let you in? Because I wanted to teach you a lesson. This is my house, and I will let in whom I please, but I will not let in whom I don’t please.’ ‘This is what you say to the alien thought. This is my house. This is my soul. I will permit those who want to enter If I want them to enter! If I don’t want a thought to enter I will simply not open the door’.
We have 2-9 seconds the most to say no! And all in the power of the support which Jesus promised to his disciples.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..