REFLECTION ON THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER (A) 14TH MAY, 2017.
? Acts 6:1-7, Ps 33, 1Pet 2:4-9, Gosp In 14:1-12.
✍? FR. OGECHUKWU OKPULU.
? IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE ARE MANY ROOMS.
Jesus, in the Gospel reading today says: “Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also”. (Jn 14:1-2)
These words of Jesus at the last supper with his disciples came as a big shock and disappointment to them. They were thrown into crisis, their hearts were troubled and filled with fear. Jesus seeing their distress, said to them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still and trust in me.
Often during crisis, people feel that God has abandoned them. But Jesus assured his apostles that even though he was leaving them, he was not abandoning them. Rather, he was going to prepare a home for them and would return to take them to that home where he has prepared for them.
Each of us has a room in the kingdom of heaven prepared for us by Jesus. It is our very own, our names have been written on the rooms. You have your own room and I have my own room too. We cannot take each others room. But before we can take full possession of our room, we have to get there, our Father’s house. For us to get there we must follow Jesus, who in today’s Gospel text says, “I am the way the truth and the life”. We have to go through Jesus to reach our heavenly home. To go through Jesus to our Father’s house entails imitating him, living a Christlike life and avoiding any from of segregation and discrimination especially in the church.
Beloved we must avoid the sin of segregation and discrimination among us because it can prevent us from reaching our final home. This was the problem that the early Christian community faced in the first reading. The crisis was between the widows of the Hellenists and the Hebrews. Both of them were Jews. The Hellenists were the minority who were in Diaspora who had grown up abroad and had embraced some Hebrew customs. They didn’t feel bound by tradition, as for the language, they could hardly speak or understand it. They were rather fluent in Greek language. On the other hand, the Hebrews were the Jews who lived all their lives in Palestine, attended the synagogue. They follow strictly the tradition of their fathers and adhered to the law of Moses. This brought class distinction in the social and political life of Palestine. The Hellenists were considered second class citizens and were treated as such. However this gradually crept into the church, hence the Hebrews who distributed the community’s goods would first of all administer to their widows before those of the Hellenists. To put an end to this crisis, the apostles chose and commissioned seven men to supervise the charitable works of the community.
Beloved we are not totally different from the Hebrews. Do we not sometimes segregate and discriminate against people , even inside the church? Do we not sometimes reserve special seats or spots for some individuals? Do we not sometimes give special attention to some individuals? Do we not sometimes treat some group with scorn because they’re the minority ? Do we not disrespect some because they are poor? We should discourage any form of segregation and discrimination that will bring division among us because we are all equal before God and as Peter reminds us in the second reading, we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people that should declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Finally, let not our hearts be troubled but trust in God, we are not alone in this journey of life. Jesus is the way leading us to heaven. So we pray for the grace to avoid every occasion of sin, so that we can get to our home in heaven where Jesus has prepared for us, ??.
DO HAVE A MARVELOUS WEEK AHEAD.