Scripture Readings: Acts 6.1-7, 1 Peter 2.4-9; John 14.1-12
Jesus spoke to his disciples. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God and believe in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions.…Philip asked Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied,”All this time I have been with you, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever sees 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?” – John 14.1-2, 8-19
The community that gives us John’s gospel lived Jesus’ teachings for more than two generations before the gospel took written form late in the first century. These believers experienced Jesus’ absence after his ascension and his presence in the Holy Spirit and in their Eucharistic gatherings. Like us they wonder how Jesus is with us, especially when we die.
The noun in Greek that we translate dwelling places, or mansions in older translations, comes from the verb μευν, which means to abide, remain, stay, last. John’s gospel tells us that to be in Jesus is also to be in relationship to the Father, to abide in God, to dwell in God.
Jesus explains to Thomas that he is the way, the truth, and the life. He embodies and reveals who God is. Philip doesn’t get it. For Philip, Jesus repeats, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus seems a little exasperated with Philip but his questions are like our own.
In his life Jesus reveals love, healing, and forgiveness as God’s way, truth, and life. To believe in Jesus is to let his words and promises take up residence in us. In faith we do Jesus’ works and embrace the people of our globe with compassion. We dwell not just in God’s house but in God’s love.
How does Jesus stay with you? When have you sensed the Spirit stirring you in loving actions and in dealing with what you regret?