“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.”
And then Jesus says he is going away. He is going to leave them.
We are in the liturgical season of Easter, during the forty days during which Jesus was risen and still present here on earth before ascending to heaven. So naturally, when hearing this gospel, we think that Jesus is talking about his ascension to heaven. When in fact this gospel is taken from the last supper, the night before he was crucified and died.
This gospel is taken from what we call the farewell discourse. His last words before going through his passion. Jesus is spending his last night with his now eleven apostles because Judas had already left the supper.
Jesus wants his apostles to keep the faith. He wants them to trust him. He wants them to know that his arrest, his passion, his death, is all a part of the plan. You have faith in God. You are all good Jews, you trust God. Well, I am the Son of God. I am God. Have faith in me too. And therefore, do not let your hearts be troubled.
Jesus says have faith in me that I will take care of you, trust me, Jesus is saying. In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places. I am leaving but it is to prepare a place for you. I will come back again and take you to myself so that where I am you also may be.
What can we take away from these comforting words of Jesus today? I think it’s the fact, that we can know that there is a place for everyone in the Father’s house. Everyone who wants to be with Jesus, will be with Jesus. There is a place for everyone in heaven. Jesus is preparing a place for us. He will make it happen. There is room for everyone who wants to be with God. Let not your hearts be troubled.
I say this because some of us watching here today are very troubled. We may not express it or share it, but it’s there. It may be deep inside me, but it’s still there.
“I have too much shame. I am no good. God can’t forgive me.”
Listen to what Jesus is saying. “Let not your hearts be troubled.” He is saying, “I can save you. I can forgive your sins. Believe me. I can make you whole. I can heal you.”
“No, I don’t deserve saving. I am not worthy. I hate my past. I’ve been away for too long.”
“Let not your hearts be troubled. There are many dwelling places. In fact, I am going to prepare a place for you.” Just have faith in me. Just entrust yourself to me and my divine mercy. My forgiveness.
“But Jesus, I can’t change. I am too lustful. I drink too much. I am so lazy. I have no energy. I don’t seem to do anything right. I seem to fail at so much”
And Jesus says, “You don't have to be perfect. You don’t have to make yourself all pretty and clean before I can accept you. No, let not your hearts be troubled. Have faith in me. Have faith that I, that I, Jesus, can save you.”
No one is written off. No one is damaged goods. No one is condemned except if they die unrepentant. And so, until that last breath, Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” I can help you. I love you. Entrust yourself to me.
And we entrust ourselves to Jesus by entrusting ourselves to his Church. The Catholic Church. This is how we touch Jesus today. This is how Jesus saves us today. It is through the Church, her teachings, her sacraments, her members that we are being saved.
This is a quote from St. Maximus of Turin.
“And so, my brothers, each of us ought surely to rejoice on this holy day. Let no one, conscious of his sinfulness, withdraw from our common celebration, nor let anyone be kept away from our public prayer by the burden of his guilt. Sinner he may indeed be, but he must not despair of pardon on this day which is so highly privileged; for if a thief could receive the grace of paradise, how could a Christian be refused forgiveness?”
Last night, was watching a video on Formed.org on the great Spanish saint from the 16th century, St. Teresa of Avila. And she wrote this famous prayer which providentially goes so well with our gospel.
Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices. Amen.
I just really felt today that our Lord really wanted me to focus on those words, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Because some of us are troubled. Some of us are very troubled and we stay away from Jesus. I wanted to relate these words to you. When Jesus says, “let not your hearts be troubled.” he is saying you have a choice in the matter. That it isn’t just an emotional response. He is commanding us not to be troubled. Decide, choose, not to be troubled. How? By coming to me. By receiving my mercy. By living in me. A sacramental life within my Church. There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. I am preparing a place for you. I can save you. Have faith in me.