Jesus offers the words of comfort in today’s reading to his disciples after he has told them about his departure from them. Even though we are familiar with houses and dwelling places, we still have a hard time conceptualizing what Jesus describes here. Our art work today is one possible image, reminding us of all the many ways humanity has taken to address the divine. Paul uses this same image in 2 Corinthians 5, where he teaches about how we “live by faith and not by sight,” focusing our faith on what is unseen rather than what is seen. Tents, dwellings, houses, mansions—all are real, like our bodies. And like our bodies, they can, do, and will continue to change in ways we cannot see from where we are right now. We are located more closely than ever in our earthly “dwelling places” right now. And we are separated from some of the “houses” that we love. How is this time deepening your understanding and appreciation of our dwelling places?
The Holy Gospel John 14:1-17
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 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? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen 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? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you."
In My Father's House
There Are Many Mansions
Irving Amen (1918-2011)