The Way, the Truth and the Life: 5th Sunday of Easter
Today in the Gospel, John 14:1-12 Jesus once again tells us the truth and shows us the way to life. How blessed we are in often troubled and uncertain times and personal and familial situations to hold onto Jesus’ hand and not get lost. Getting lost is easy to do in hard times. In this fifth week of Easter, we are reminded that Jesus the Christ Lives and therefore with him we live, now and forever. On this Mother’s Day we are reminded that when a mother faces terrible trouble the family flounders. Yet, we ,mothers, and all of us know, that when we hold on to the Way, truth and Life, we may flounder and get lost at times, but we will be all right. We will return to life. This is for all the mothers who carry heavy loads and sometimes fall under the weight, but get up again and lead their children back to God and life by their love and faith.
This week, a very sick parishioner, Linda M. told me ” I feel that I am getting lost”. Faced with unspeakable pain and a host of trying life problems as well,indeed she was in danger of getting lost. She is now in the hospital in crisis and I was able to be with her for three days. Today her seven children and family surround her with love on Mother’s day. But her condition is such that she is in and out of knowing it. Yet, she does know it. And she does know that God’s love surrounds her and pulls her back from death into life. Her good news was that her cancer can still be treated. Thanks be to God. But the other conditions now engulfing her must be healed first. And, she must gain the strength of spirit to fight again with Jesus by her side. In my first visit on Wednesday, I anointed her with the help of the family and we sang and prayed songs she knew and could hear with the laying on of hands. “Pass me not, Oh Gentle Savior,hear my humble cry, while on others you are calling, do not pass me by”. I reminded her that God is present, surrounding her with love and Jesus will not pass her by. She was able to give her “Amen”. Please join me and her family and loved ones in prayer for Linda, for healing of body, mind and spirit. And extend that prayer to all mothers and all who suffer with illness and other issues and still carry others. I think here of our Pastor Judy Beaumont too, and my cousin Bob’s dear wife, Barbara Robinson, such women of faith. We pray for all families and all mothers who have illness, other issues and too much to deal with-for strength, for healing, for patience and peace and most of all a renewed infusion of love and life. We are thankful for the love of God our Mother and Father and for Jesus who accompanies us on the journey, through the good days, which are many, and the bad days too. Jesus assures us in John 14 that he has not disappeared, he has prepared a place for us to be with him. That is both now and forever and with him we will never lose the Way. Amen!
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP,
Co-Pastor Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers, Florida
Below also is Rev. Deni Doulos reflections on Jesus: the truth. Amen and Amen!
And Jesus Said, “I Tell You The Truth”
Every time Jesus wanted us to listen to what He had to say, He would say
“truly I tell you“
“verily I say unto you“
“I tell you the truth”
All of Jesus’ parables use one of these phrases, as well as many of His teachings. He wants us to ‘get it’ – that what He was saying is important to us and to our salvation.
And Jesus performed all kinds of marvelous deeds: changing water into wine, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, raising the dead, making the lame walk again, driving out demons, feeding 5000 people with five loaves and two fishes, restoring the ear of the servant that Peter cut off, -things that we don’t see every day – things that people found hard to or couldn’t believe. But Bible tells us that these miracles are true -that Jesus did these things – and reminds us that He also said “I tell you the truth”.
In this day and age, we have a hard time finding someone who will tell us the truth. Events are sensationalized, we hear lots of ‘fake news’ or ‘alternative facts’, and some people just outright lie and expect us to believe them. It is very hard or almost impossible to know what is true anymore.
But there is one person who we can always believe – who speaks the truth to us, no matter what – and that is Jesus. “I tell you the truth” was, in fact, the essence of Jesus’ mission and ministry.
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus says in today’s text,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” (John 14:1)
He said this to the disciples on the last night He shared a meal with them – the time we call ‘The Last Supper’. Can you think of anything more reassuring? More hopeful? More promising?
In spite of the betrayal by Judas and denial three times by Peter that would come in that evening, and the trial Jesus would be facing, he reassured this band of followers, saying
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” (John 14:1)
And He says the same thing to us!
We, like those disciples, have our doubts, weak resolve and often wander off the correct path. Jesus told the truth about the cruelty of people to others, the hatred that tears us apart, the shortcomings that bind us together more than any ties of nationalities, ethnicity, or politics ever could. But once again, Jesus reassures us:
“In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2)
Jesus’ “I tell you the truth“ revealed more about God, about that love and forgiveness that is offered to us; the ‘truth’ about God’s plan for salvation for each and every one of us. When Jesus told the ‘truth’ about God, it was never quite what we expected.
For those convinced they were righteous and blessed by their piety and goodness, Jesus warned,
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full” (Matthew 6:5).
For those who put their faith in human efforts, in the power of the sword and political might, Jesus announced before the great Temple Herod had completed,
“I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another, everyone will be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2).
For those proud of their rigid oppressive religion, Jesus reminded them that there would be no grown-ups in heaven:
“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
For those who said God could only work in certain ways and through certain people, Jesus told the ‘truth’ about a God who could work
and with whomever
God wants us!
Each and every one of us!
No matter what!
Jesus came to tell the ‘truth’, and this truth both surprises and sets us free – free for God to take us to places that we’ve never been before and couldn’t get to without God.
All we have to do is follow the teachings of Jesus.
Praise be to God!
Delivered at In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, OH; 14 May 2017