Fifth Sunday of Easter

PREPARING FOR THE WORD
Before you begin take a moment to pray, saying this short prayer by St. John Chrysostom or a prayer in your own words asking the Lord to open up your heart and mind to his Word.       
        O Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart, that I may hear Your word and understand and do Your will.


READING THE WORD 
Lectio or reading is the first step of lectio divina. You are invited to begin by slowly and attentively reading aloud the gospel of the day by yourself or others.

Gospel                                                               John 14:1-12 Lectionary: 52

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."

For all of the readings for Sunday go to: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051417.cfm


REFLECTING ON THE WORD

Our Gospel lesson, John 14:1-12, finds us near the beginning of what is known as Jesus’ “Farewell Address.”

Within Jesus’ “Farewell Address” (John 13:31-17:26), Jesus offers some of his most vital and most comforting teachings.

Jesus begins in Chapter 13:33 saying, “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

Wow! This is the context that we find our gospel lesson. Jesus tells his disciples he will not be with them much longer, He gives them a New Commandment, (a commandment to love one another as Jesus has loved them) and Jesus predicts Peter’s denial.

With all the uncertainty and questions that must have been on the disciples minds, Jesus offers these words of immense comfort.

 “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 were I am you also may be.”

These words are full of peace and promise. Jesus, knowing that his hour is coming, offers peace to troubled hearts. Later in this same chapter, 14:27, Jesus speaks specifically about his offer of peace. Jesus says, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Here again Jesus speaks to troubled hearts.  His peace is real and is not offered by this world, but offered only in and through Jesus faithfulness and love.

The peace Jesus offers us is related to his twofold promise. First, the promise that his going away is for our benefit – he is going to prepare a place for us in God’s eternal house. And Second, the promise that he will come back and bring us to where he is!

In our busy, weary, hectic, and sometime grief stricken lives, we need Jesus’ words of comfort. Let these words sink deep within you. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. I go and prepare a place for you and I will come back and take you to myself so that where I am you may be also."

And remember, “I am the way, 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.” The peace Jesus offers our troubled hearts is a peace from the very heart of God!


PONDERING THE WORD

Imeditatio, traditionally, the second stage of lectio divina, we are invited to ponder, as Mary did, “all these things in her heart” as we listen for Jesus, the Incarnate Word to speak to us heart-to-heart. You may find the following questions helpful in doing this. 

1. Do you trust that Jesus is preparing a place for you in heaven?

2. How do these words of Jesus give you peace?

3. In what way(s) is your heart troubled? How might Jesus words bring you comfort?

4. How might this passage bring you closer to God?


PRAYING THE WORD

In oratio, the third stage of the practice of lectio divina, pondering the Word of God naturally leads to prayer.  Having opened your heart to his Word, take a few moments to speak to Jesus heart-to-heart.


CLOSING PRAYER

You may wish to conclude your time of prayer using the Collect from this Sunday’s Mass below or the Lord’s Prayer: 

Almighty ever-living God, you constantly accomplish the Paschal Mystery within us, that those you were pleased to make new in Holy Baptism may, under your protective care, bear much fruit and come to the joys of life eternal. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.