“Do not let your hands be troubled.” Certainly, there are troubled people, troubled places, troubled precincts, a troubled country ad we need all the assuring words that can be given that can put our hearts to rest. We can depend on Jesus who said, “Behold, I am with you always until the end of time,” to help us hurdle problems confronting our nation. However, Jesus was thinking of something else, something more crucial to all and each human being.
He said those words above because he announced to his disciples that he was going away, and they will be looking for him, but like he said to the Jews, where he will go they cannot come. That is why they became sad and troubled. So he tells them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and faith in me.” Indeed, by trusting in Jesus and his Father, we can put up with our troubles. But sometimes our troubles are so big that we feel God is abandoning us that we cannot find our place in his concerns or he is ours. Temptations against faith can be more horrible than actual suffering and trials themselves, as some great saints like Therese of the Infant Jesus acknowledged by experience.
So, Jesus had to assure disciples with such troubles, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places, and if I am going away it is to prepare a place for you, and then I shall come back to take you with me, so that there where I am you also may be.” So finding a place in God’s house is no problem; neither should we worry about Jesus going away, for he will come back to take us with him.
All this looks like a long-term solution, a promise with eschatological dimension i.e. whose fulfilment is realized on the last day only. Meanwhile, our trials continue and we endure. I guess that is part of what faith is about, “the assurance of the things we hope for, the evidence of things we cannot see,” as Paul says in Hebrews 11. But those of us who are bit impatient and would like things to be solved more quickly, will be surprised to know that, in today’s gospel, Jesus was referring to events taking place in the next few days and not mainly at the end of time.
He was talking about his crucifixion, death and burial, which will snatch him from the sight and companionship of his disciples, and take him where they cannot follow as yet. In fact, they will run away from him and abandoned him in that hour. But form the cross and by the power of his resurrection the Church was born and revealed soon at Pentecost. This Church is the Father’s house with many mansions that can accommodate peoples from every nation, race, language, generation and age. It is to this Church that Jesus. After rising from death, will gather his scattered disciples so they can be once more where he and the Father are. It is in this Church, the father’s house, where all members will not let their hearts be troubled, for in it they find the way, the truth, and life.
This interpretation finds support from the first reading. Why do you think Paul set out his first missionary journey if not to announce to all peoples of goodwill. No matter how numerous and diverse, that they can find their places in the Father’s house of many rooms, and where they can discover the way, the truth and the life. Listen to his discourse at the synagogue of Antioch in Asia Minor: “My brothers, children of the family of Abraham and you others who reverence our God, to us the word of salvation were sent… We announce to you the good news that what God had promised our fathers, he has fulfilled for us, their children, in rising up Jesus.