John Fifth Sunday of Easter. May 14, 2017
In today’s Gospel, St. John through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us today the definition of true and authentic Hope: "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 again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also…I am the way.”
Certainly our world lacks hope. However today, the Holy Spirit is calling us, you and me, each of us, to do something about it. We are called to be witnesses of hope in these difficult times. This may be difficult to accept because we ourselves may be struggling to have hope, struggling to maintain hope. So before we can be effective witnesses we must first understand well hope,
Today’s Gospel, as many of you may recall, is used at many funerals; it is one of the most used. Jesus gave this discourse in today’s Gospel during the Last Supper, when He was about to face His passion and death. He knew well that the apostles would have their faith shaken, their hope tested and would even come to betray Him. Yet, He gives the wonderful true words of hope. Jesus did not say, “Oh, everything will be fine!-ya just gotta have faith!”, as if nothing was about to happen, as if the disciples would not have to suffer or, as if they would be rich and successful if they just had enough faith. No, instead He says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
For us as well, like the disciples, the prospect of difficulties and especially evil, such as suffering and death, can certainly trouble our hearts. Humanly speaking, these things are terrifying. It seems we have no control and that we are powerless to stop what is happening to us (and so we are)! Jesus, for His part however, did not shrink from His suffering even though He had the power to do so (we do not). Rather for us and for our salvation, He embraced His cross because He knew the Father would raise Him up and bring Him to Himself.
It’s important for us at this point to realize and to understand that Jesus did not have hope; rather instead, He is the object of our hope. As true Man, He is the way to our Hope; as true God is not only the source of all Hope, He is Hope. God is our true Origin and our true Destination, and Jesus is the way. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega; He is the One by Whom and for Whom we have been created and for Whom we long—all things were created by Him, for Him and through Him (cf. John1:). When one knows the Goal, and the goal is Jesus, and sees Him through the eyes of faith, then one already begins to posses that in which, or better, in Whom he hopes.
Jesus came from the Father and always saw and was with the Father, even when He was one earth in His human body—He didn’t leave Heaven; He brought Heaven to us. We, who do not see the Father, need hope, supernatural Hope. This hope comes only from believing in, and so seeing through faith, the One alone who has seen the Father and comes from the Father…Jesus. He is the Father’s only begotten Son. Jesus is the perfect image of the Father, for everything the Father has and is, Jesus has and is. For this reason, whoever sees the Son sees the Father. And so our Hope comes from the Father and this Hope, which has for its object—Jesus, is supernatural and carries us through and beyond any suffering we may endure, even our death in this world, but only if we keep our eyes on Jesus.
But how do we keep our eyes on Jesus? It is a matter of merely keeping Him in mind or saying His Holy Name? Is this the way Jesus says we can see the Father? Surely, we we love someone we must keep them in mind and call upon them by name. But Jesus has been sent by the Father to us, because God so loved the world-us. His love, however, is not past tense. Did He send the Son and now the Son is Gone? How therefore can we see the Son? Well, us Catholics know how?.
We can see the son in the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. And when we see the Son in the Holy Eucharist with the eyes of Faith, we see the Father as well. Think of it, when you look at the Holy Eucharist you see the Face of the Father—although It is veiled from our earthly sight, we no less behold the face of God in the Holy Eucharist. All our hope is therefore contained in the Holy Eucharist because it is Jesus. The Holy Eucharist is therefore our Hope, hope itself. For we know the way, the Holy Eucharist is the Way to the Father. Hope comes when we fall on our knees before the Holy Eucharist and be, not believing but believing and cry out to Jesus who is really there, “I Hope in You, I trust in you Jesus!
No matter what may happen to us in the future, if we place our hope in Him, Jesus will take us to the Father by uniting us to Himself in love through the gift of faith. He has prepared a dwelling place for us and will come and to take us to Himself, if we place our hope solely in Him. Our Hope is not a, “hope so, or might be!,” Our Hope, is a hope that never disappoints, for It is none other than Jesus Christ, truly present in the Holy Eucharist the Most blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Adoring God in the Holy Eucharist is the source of our strength in overcoming opposition and suffering and fear.
This is our hope, founded on faith in our Lord Jesus. This Hope, that we literally receive in Holy Communion, as the power to transform us if we let It. But not only us, It also as the power, through us, to transform the entire world. True Hope like true Faith is not merely informative, it does not just give us knowledge; it is also performative; it calls us to do something. Hope, like faith, calls us to give a total giving of ourselves in response to the sacrificial love of the Father given to us through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, who gave and continues to give Himself totally to us in the Holy Eucharist. We begin to actively hope at this at Holy Mass by interiorly making an act of our will to place ourselves, all that we have and are on the Paten to be offered back to the Father as living sacrifices of love. Holy Mass is then the way, the only way to the Father.
In this gift of complete self, in complete hope and trust to the One who gives Himself totally to us, we will be more and more transformed through holiness into His image and likeness for all the world to see. Our thoughts will become His thoughts, our words and deeds—His, and we will always ready to proclaim the Lord Christ to others, always having our answer ready for those who ask the reason for the hope that is within us, so that they too may posses that Hope and that Joy that we process in our hearts.
Let us answer the call, let us become hope for the world by allowing ourselves to be transformed by the Holy Eucharist, at this Holy Mass, into Instruments of God’s Grace and Mercy; this is the world’s Hope; its only Hope. Let us turned to Our Lady of Fatima, for help:
O Virgin most holy to you we consecrate out lives, our possessions and our whole heart. Place them on the paten at this Holy Mass. Surely from your hands your Divine Son will accept our offering. Then obtain for us the grace from Him to live out self-offering in everything we say, think and do. Then walking in the Lord’s footsteps, our own lives will become a journey of hope—of total trust in the Lord. Holy Mary, Mother of God, our life, our sweetness and our Hope, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Saint Jacinta, Saint Francisco, Pray for us.