John 14:1-12 – 5th Sunday of Easter – 10th May, 2020
I watched part of a movie recently called Hacksaw Ridge: a true story. It told of a young American man, a Seventh Day Adventist, who joined the forces to be a medic during the World War 11, so that he could ‘save lives’, but at the same time he refused to handle a gun or to kill anyone. He was beaten, condemned, persecuted by his regiment because of his stand on non-violence. He stood his ground whatever they threw at him with extraordinary conviction and no retaliation. He knew what he believed in and lived it out. He ended up a hero because he saved over 70 men without any violence or holding a gun. It was his absolute conviction with what he believed that was so compelling.
What then do we believe in – what do I believe in? It seems to me this is a most critical questions for all of us to sit with and attempt to answer or at least bring it into our conscious awareness. What do we stand for? Are we even able to answer this question with any integrity and depth of conviction? Many of us might find it a very confronting question. I know I do.
Another question/s: Who do we look up to and admire? Whom do we ‘follow’? When we explore these questions, we might then ask ourselves: Why do I admire and ‘follow’ such persons?
How many of us go through life with ‘belief’ in very little – or at least not reflecting upon our beliefs? Many of us get tossed about from pillar to post and consciously stand for very little at all – we don’t even know what it is we stand for. In this time of anti-religion, anti-institutions, anti-authority etc. these are things we DON’T stand for or DON’T BELIEVE IN. BUT WHAT DO WE STAND FOR THEN – WHAT DO WE BELIEVE IN? Belief is not what we say or proclaim, IT IS WHAT WE DO AND LIVE BY.
Every Sunday Catholics recite the Apostles Creed which is a series of proclamations of what we say we believe in. Do we really BELIEVE what we ‘pray’? Do our lives reflect the BELIEF we proclaim in this creed? Many of us might look at the Creed and find ourselves making a counter list of what we DON’T BELIEVE within this prayer. It is one thing to name what we don’t believe, but quite another to name what we truly believe. Could we take some time during the coming week and write our own creed and what we believe in and how we attempt to LIVE OUT that belief? We might ask ourselves too if we would endure condemnation and persecution because of these beliefs we proclaim to believe in.
There is a song with the words: ‘What the world needs now is Love sweet Love, it’s the only thing there is just too little of.’ Most of us would know this song. We know its sentiments are true. We all long for Love and more Love. But it seems that for Love to be increasingly manifest, we must first BELIEVE IN LOVE – we must EXPERIENCE Love – we must KNOW AND MEET Love. How do we believe in Love if we are not conscious of our personal experiences of Love – taking it all blindly for granted?
When we come to know and experience such BELIEF and Trust in Love, the Christ (or however you wish to name this Mystery) becomes alive and conscious in us and as Jesus tells each of us today: ‘you will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works… This is BELIEF.
It is a tragic mistake to turn belief in Jesus (Love) into belief in a church. Many still think faithful Sunday Mass attendance makes you a ‘believer’ and a ‘good catholic’. How else we chose to live our lives, where and how we Love, honour and respect others and stand for justice matters, doesn’t seem to come into the equation unless of course we are divorced and re-married or gay etc. We often judge a person as a ‘good catholic’ by their ‘attendance’, rather than how they live out their belief in Love regardless of ‘attendance’. ‘Attendance’ to the church building is what we came to believe in and identify with, while Love itself had to take a back seat or even find there was no seat available at all!
Daniel O’Leary in his book ‘An Astonishing Secret’ (Page 203) leaves us with these wonderful words, which fit beautifully with Jesus’ words and desire for us in today’s Gospel:
‘We are all one, all part of the One Energy Field,
the One Creative Source, the One Loving Creator.
You, and the Earth you live in, are the Spirit’s beauty
in matter and flesh, conspiring to make the ‘dream of the Earth’ come true.
Eternal Love is expressing itself through you, as you and as the world itself.
With the Loving Mystery, in stone, star and soul,
you are the co-creator of the future.
You have the Creator’s power to become who you are meant to be…..
Be ever ready, expectant, open to the gracious call of the Final Intimacy…’