May 8, 2017

Reflection on the Fifth Sunday in Easter: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life"

Deësis mosaic
Deësis mosaic, c. 1261, Hagia Sophia, Greek Orthodox Basilica, Istanbul

 The Fifth Sunday in Easter, May 14, 2017

By Msgr. Bernard Bourgeois

Acts 6:1-7; Psalm 33; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God;
have faith also in me.” John 14:1

The Church is now in the midst of what is known as the Great Fifty Days, or the Easter Season. This sacred time began with the Easter Vigil Mass and will conclude Pentecost Sunday. Easter is the high point of the liturgical year. It is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the most important moment of human history. Now, in the middle of May, it might seem that Easter and the joy it brought to the Church is a long time ago. The joy and festivity of Easter can wear off quickly when everyone returns to work, school, and life.

Day-to-day living has a way of wearing the human person’s faith down. Life can become a matter of routine and even monotony. Suffering abounds, and it can be seen in families, at work, in school, on the news, and beyond. Troubled relationships are apt to consume the person as no relationship is perfect. All of these things can make one ask where faith fits into the picture. Questions form in our minds: How can God allow this suffering? Where is the all-good, all-knowing God in my life?

Into the midst of all of this confusion, the Church offers this particular Gospel reading for the Fifth Sunday in Easter. The famous line quoted above is in the Gospel for this Sunday: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God; have faith also in me.” Trust in God and in Jesus Christ. Move your heart into the unknown mysteries of your faith, because that is where God dwells. How can the human person strengthen his or her faith in God?

Realize that no human being has all the answers. It takes a great deal of self-confidence to admit the fact that one cannot answer all questions or solve all problems. It is interesting to note that we already know this in other parts of our lives. For example, one regularly sees a doctor when sick, a mechanic when one’s car dies, a carpenter when the kitchen needs a makeover, and an engineer when a bridge needs to be built. The same logic needs to be applied to one’s faith. Only God has all the answers. Have faith that God is watching out for the human person. God chooses not to share all of those answers with us; nevertheless, he knows them. As a child is called to trust in his or her parents, so we, the children of God, are called to trust in him. The person needs to have confidence in something bigger than him or herself. Does it not give us confidence that there is a God out there who guides and directs us all? See the bigger picture. God sees it all. The person can only see a small slice of what is a huge pie! Have confidence that God knows more than you do.

Pray. Find time to spend with God. Your prayer need not be formal. Speak to God from your heart and let him know your struggles and concerns. Read the psalms and Gospels to help understand who God is. The more time you spend with the Lord, the more you will connect with him. You will feel his presence within you.

Connect with others on the same journey. The Church is a community of people who are all on the same journey. Connect with others at your parish who also value faith and with whom you can talk about your faith and its struggles.

Finally, have patience with God and persevere. These two virtues hold most relationships together. It is the same with God! Be patient and let the Lord intervene as he sees fit. Persevere through dark times because the light of day will come. Always believe in the Resurrection! We trust in God because at the end of the day there is nowhere else to turn. Deep in our hearts and souls we detect a voice that beckons us to follow him. That voice is God’s. While we may question God at times, we also cannot stay away, because we know he has the answers.

There are no magic answers in dealing with God. Find him in faith as the creator of all that is. Look into a mirror and realize that someone greater than you created you, gave you many gifts and talents, and calls you to himself. While you will always have questions, stand in awe and wonder at the beauty of God’s creation in you and all around you.

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