Gospel Of Sunday 07 May: John 14, 1-12
Gospel Of Sunday 07 May, John 14, 1-12: Jesus Comforts His Disciples
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus the Way to the Father
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[ my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Dear Sisters and Brothers of Mercy, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).
Also today I share with you a short meditation on the Gospel, with particular reference to the theme of mercy.
John brings together in a single discourse (Jn 13:31-17:26) many of Jesus’ teachings, according to the literary genre of “testaments” or “farewell discourses” (Gn 47:29-49:33; Dt; Js 22-24; 1 Cr 28-29; Tb 14:3-11; Acts 20:17-38…).
The unity is given by the dramatic psychological atmosphere. It is an eschatological discourse, that is, relative to the last times, but the Church that proclaims it knows that the eschaton has already been accomplished in the paschal mystery.
Let us briefly analyse the passage that today’s liturgy presents to us (John 14:1-12)
v. 1: Faith: the Hebrew word, from the root ‘mn’ (from which “amen”!) indicates adherence, firmness; Faith must be addressed both to the Father and to the Son.
v. 2: dwellings: in the Jewish Apocalyptic, the heavenly house of God was imagined as a great palace full of rooms; but here there is a reference to a theme so dear to John: the menèin en, the staying, the abiding with Jesus and the Father.
v. 3: the second coming of Jesus is spoken of, which for us will be the moment of our death, in which we will meet Jesus in glory.
v. 5: Thomas is the type of the faithful disciple but who always raises objections, questions.
v. 7: from now: it is the ‘hour’ of the supreme revelation.
v. 10: Jesus’ words are works (Augustine and Chrysostom). But there is a ‘progressive parallelism’ here: works confirm the Word.
Jesus returns to the Father to prepare a place for us
The glorification of the Father and the Son is accomplished in the return to the Father.
The Son, who was with God (Jn 1:1-2), came forth from the Father and became flesh (1:14), coming to dwell among us.
But the purpose of his incarnation was to take upon himself human nature, its transience, its mortality, its sin, to overcome its limitation by bringing it into the sphere of God.
Christ lives the human experience to the full, even to death, in order to transcend it, to divine it.
He, by his incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension, makes us sharers in his divine life, reunites us with the Father.
Now, through him, the boundary between the finite and the infinite, between the mortal and the Eternal, between man and God, is eliminated.
We can now always remain with God: this is the symbolic meaning of the discourse on “place” and “abode”: “In those days you will know that I am in the Father and you in me and I in you” (Jn 14:20).
Our dream of infinity, our need for eternity, our hunger and thirst for God is fulfilled (Sl 42:2-3).
This divinisation is already realised now in the Faith, but we will only see it realised after death: this is the meaning of “You will follow me later” in v. 36. 2 Cor 5:1 says: “For we know that when this body, our dwelling place on earth, is disposed of, we shall receive a habitation from God, an eternal dwelling, not made by human hands, in heaven.
Jesus is the Way
v. 6 (“I am the way, the truth and the life”) has had multiple interpretations. De la Potterie has summarised them as follows:
(a) Jesus is the way (odòs) directed towards a goal that is truth and/or life:
– the Greek Fathers say that the way and the truth lead to life.
– the Latin Fathers say that Jesus is the way that leads to truth and life:
– others, according to Gnostic dualism, affirm that the soul ascends along the way to the sphere of truth and life.
b) Jesus is the way, of which truth and life are an explication.
Jesus is the way because he is the truth and the life.
Jesus specifies: “No one comes to the Father except through me” (v. 6). He is the way because he is the truth, the revelation of the Father (vv. 7 and 8). He is the way because he is the life (vv.10-11).
Deut 30:15-20 already confronted man with the way of life and the way of death. The community of Qumram designated itself simply by “the way”. The early Church also often refers to itself simply as “the way” (Acts 9:2; 18:25; 19:9.23; 22:4; 24:14.22).
This “way” to God is Jesus Christ alone. Already the Baptist had come “to prepare the way of the Lord” (Mk 1:3).
And in John 10: 9 Jesus reiterates that he is the only way to salvation: “I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved”.
Jesus is the Truth
But in Jn 14:6 Jesus not only tells us what he does, what his role is towards the disciples, but also who he is; he is the truth (alethèia): Jesus is “the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14); “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn 1:17); “If you remain faithful to my word you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:31-32); “For this I came into the world: to bear witness to the truth” (Jn 18:37).
But truth is God himself who reveals himself in Jesus Christ, while Satan is the prince of lies (8:44). Truth is the divine salvific plan, not only to be known in the Gnostic sense, but to be welcomed and loved. This truth is not arrived at by rational effort, but is a gift from God to be accepted with Faith.
Jesus is life
Jesus is life (zoè): “All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made of all that exists” (1:3). Jesus is “the Word of life, for the life was made visible, we have seen it, and of this we bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us” (1 Jn 1:1); “He is the true God and the eternal life” (1 Jn 5:20).
This life the Father has given to the Son (Jn 5:26), and only the Son can give it to those who believe in him (Jn 5:21; 5:28). He came “that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10); “I am the bread of life…: if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever” (Jn 6:48-51); “I am the resurrection and the life: whoever lives and believes in me shall not die forever” (Jn 11:25-26).
Let us cling to him, let us adhere to him. He alone leads us to truth and life. The other paths are all paths of lies and death. Yet how much time do we waste looking for other paths, or prevaricating on the way. Only Jesus counts: only tenacious and full Faith in him. Everything else is secondary. He alone is the Mediator (the way), the Revealer (the truth), the Saviour (the life).
Jesus is in the Father and the Father in him
This passage contains a profound Trinitarian theology on the relationship between the Father and the Son. In a wonderful progression, in v. 7 it is said that to know Jesus is to know the Father, and in v. 10 that the Father and the Son inhabit each other. Jesus had already proclaimed this in John 10:30 and 10:38, statements that the Jews judged blasphemous and therefore tried to stone him.
In John we are at the height of revelation about the very nature of God, who presents Himself to us as One, but in three distinct Persons. In John, the Lover reveals his innermost inner dynamic to the beloved, to us sinners.
Good Mercy to all!
Anyone wishing to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, ask me at email@example.com.
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