The setting of today’s Gospel is the Last Supper. Jesus knows that his disciples are going through sadness as they think about his impending death. Jesus tells the disciples to not let their hearts be troubled because it is to their benefit that he leaves in order to be with God the Father.
Jesus says that he is going to the realm of his Father in order to prepare a place for them to dwell. Jesus promises that he will return to take the disciples to himself. Then they will be in communion with the Father.
OUR JOURNEY TO THE FATHER
The words of Jesus show us that our lives are a journey to the Father. We often believe that what is most important is our life in this world. The words of Jesus remind us that what is most important is our final destiny, eternal life, rather than our journey through this life.
Jesus uses the misunderstanding of the disciples to teach them. “Jesus said to the disciples, ‘And you know the way where I am going.’ Thomas then asked Jesus, ‘Master we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me (John 14:4-6).’” Jesus shows that faith in him leads one to God the Father.
Philip then asks Jesus to show the disciples the Father. Jesus answers by saying, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. (John 14:10)” Jesus challenges Philip to believe that Jesus and the Father are one. And so, oneness with the Father comes through belief and trust in Jesus. Jesus says that to know Jesus is to know the Father. Those who have seen Jesus have seen the Father. Jesus says that there is a oneness between him and the Father. Thus, we experience God through the life and words of Jesus. This unity between Jesus and the Father is seen as the Father accomplishes his works through Jesus.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and greater than these, because I go to the Father. (John 14:12” These words anticipate the coming of Jesus, the Paraclete, and speak of the works of faith and love done by disciples throughout the centuries in imitation of Jesus. The works of the disciples done after the departure of Jesus will surpass the works of Jesus because Jesus will be present in his absence. Jesus will do the works that the disciples request.
Jesus has done the works of his Father because of his oneness with the Father. Jesus will depart to the house of his Father. Jesus will come again. There will be an in-between-time during which the disciples must ask in Jesus’ name and he will continue to do the works of the Father among them.
THE CONTINUING PRESENCE OF JESUS IN THE CHURCH
Jesus’ death and journey to the Father allows Jesus to be with his disciples in a special way. The ongoing presence of the absent Jesus will be found in the worshiping community. The members of the community will associate themselves with the departed Jesus, asking in his name. The glory of God, once seen in the deeds of Jesus, will be seen in the deeds of the worshipping community. These works of the community will be greater than even the works of Jesus. They will be done as a result of asking in the name of Jesus. Christ will continue to be present in the life of the Church.
Central to this Gospel is the idea that Jesus revealed the Father during his lifetime. In our own lives we are called to make Christ present in our world. The love of our mothers has allowed us to do this. Through the love of their mothers, children grow to have self-confidence and to see the world as a “good and welcoming place” (Pope Francis, The Joy of Love, 175). My mother certainly showed me this love and confidence and certainly has helped me to grow into a person of self-confidence.
I have learned that mothers are often the first teachers of the faith to their children. Pope St. John Paul II wrote, “Mothers often communicate the deepest meaning of religious practice in the first prayers and acts of devotion that their children learn… Without mothers, not only would there be no new faithful, but the faith itself would lose a good part of its simple and profound warmth… Dear mothers: thank you! Thank you for what you are in your family and for what you give to the Church and the world.”
Yes, we thank you, our mothers, for all you have done to form us in the faith throughout our lives.