This reflection is by Erin Wiley from this Sunday’s gospel reading from John 14:1-12.
In today’s gospel, Jesus is trying so hard to reassure his disciples that God’s love will not abandon them or leave them behind. That having witnessed this love in action through Christ, they already have everything they need to demonstrate that same love (and even “greater”) in the world. Christ is making it clear that everything we need to see is right before our eyes (the way), everything we need to know has already been revealed to us (the truth), and everything we need to do is already being done in us and through us, by God (the life)! In a time like this, when the unknown seems to be ruling our lives, Jesus is assuring us that God is still holding us through it all. He’s reminding us that there is total security in the Father’s house. What more could we ask for?
In many of our families, there is often one person that seems to naturally fall into the role of the matriarch. Whether it’s “Big Momma” or “Auntie So-and-So”, her house always ends up being the gathering place. It’s that space where the whole family can come together and be in harmony. The elders can sit around and talk about the world and all of its changes. The younger crowd might congregate together to exchange ideas. The loners might find a comfy corner to settle in with a book or some good music to enjoy privately. The little ones can run and play to their heart’s content. It’s the kind of place where there’s room for everyone and where each person finds exactly what they need. Why can “Mama’s House” always supply so abundantly? Because it’s a house saturated in love. The kind of love that is constantly revealing God to us…if we open our eyes to perceive it.
In one of my favorite books of all time, The Shack, by William P. Young, God is called by the name “Papa”…and appears most often in the form of a warm, affectionate Black woman. And it is Her gentle nurturing and unquestionable caring that grabs hold of the weary, broken soul of the main character and refuses to let go. As with the Big Mommas in our lives, Papa’s house proves to be a place of comfort, acceptance, and healing even in the midst of great pain, darkness, and despair. A house where safety and security in the Father is no different from being enfolded and embraced by a Mother. A house where love doesn’t just welcome you in, but prepares a place made especially for you.
Today, and every day, may we build a house that honors God as Father and God as Mother…God as Infinite, Abiding, and Unconditional Love.