Trust in God

Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter Year A

by Fr. Tommy Lane

We were all anxious at the passing of our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, Pope John Paul the Great. Would we have a Pope to continue his great work? But God has granted us a wonderful new Pope in Pope Benedict XVI this week (April 19 2005) who will continue the great work of Pope John Paul II. God has truly blessed us. He is a humble man, holy and prayerful. We can look forward to a great Papacy.

We experienced anxiety at the passing of Pope John Paul II. From time to time we all experience fears, worries, anxieties. If its severe it could even affect someone’s sleep and appetite. Because we are prone to fear, anxiety and worry it is no wonder that several hundred times the Bible advises us not to worry. Why does the Bible keep telling us not to worry? Because our faith is weak and instead of looking at God too often we look at the problems. If we prayed more I’m sure we would see God sending us help from somewhere.

In the Gospel today we heard Jesus preparing his disciples for the time when he would no longer be with them. He said to them,

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. (John 14:1-3)

In the Gospel Philip asked Jesus to be able to see the Father and Jesus responded, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? To have seen me is to have seen the Father.” (John 14:9) If Jesus were to ask that question of us I think we would all answer that we do know something of Jesus but we don’t know him very well. That is why we worry. If we knew Jesus better we would not focus on problems and difficulties but focus on Jesus instead. “Have I been with you all this time and you still do not know me?” “Have I been with you all this time in the Mass and sacraments and the Word of God in the Bible and you still do not know me?” “Have I been with you all this time in the faith of your community and when you pray to me and you still do not know me?” “Have I been with you all this time and when you look back over your life you can see that I sent you help when you needed it and you still do not know me?”

If we had more of Jesus in our lives we would have less fear, worries and anxieties. We would still have problems. God never promised that we would not have problems. Jesus himself had a big problem, he was sentenced to death as a common criminal. But Jesus rose on the third day and Jesus will help us rise above our difficulties also because as the second reading stated Jesus is the “living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God” (1 Pet 2:4) If we try to live without Jesus, life will not go nearly as well for us as when we have Jesus at the center of our lives. We can overcome problems better with Jesus in our lives than without Jesus. If we turn our backs on Jesus how can we expect to succeed? Let us focus on Jesus and not on the problems. Again as our second reading stated, “Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion, a cornerstone, chosen and precious, and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.” (1 Pet 2:6) When we have problems let us turn to Jesus who is always waiting for us.

Sometimes we say, “It’s impossible.”
But Jesus says in Luke 18:27, “Things that are impossible for men are possible for God.”

Sometimes we say, “I’m too tired.”
But Jesus says in Matt 11:28 “Come to me all you who labor and are overburdened and I will give you rest.”

Sometimes we say, “Nobody really loves me.”
But in John 3:16 we read that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.

Sometimes we say, “I can’t go on.”
But Jesus told Paul, “My grace is enough for you: for power is at full stretch in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Sometimes we say, “I can’t do it.”
But Paul wrote in Phil 4:13, “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”

Sometimes we say, “I can’t manage.”
But Paul wrote in Phil 4:19, “God will fulfill all your needs in Christ Jesus as lavishly as only God can.

Sometimes we say, “I’m afraid.”
But in 2 Tim 1:7 we read, “God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power and love and self-control.”

Sometimes we say, “I feel all alone.”
But in Heb 13:5 God says, “I will never fail or desert you.”

In our Gospel today Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” (John 14:1)

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered in a parish in Maryland near where I have joined the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.