The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe, Easter Week V-A, 10 May 2020
Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7 ><)))*> 1 Peter 2:4-9 ><)))*> John 14:1-12
Our Sunday celebration today is a confluence of things that perfectly jibe with our situation during this pandemic – the quarantine call worldwide to “stay home, save lives”, Mother’s Day, and Jesus telling us in the gospel we are one family going “home” to the Father.
Jesus said to his disciples: “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
Home is where the heart is
One good thing with this COVID-19 pandemic is how it has driven home so hard one lesson modern man has forgotten: the importance of home, of family life.
It is hoped that during this quarantine period, we do not merely stay home to prevent spread of corona virus but most of all to build anew our relationships in our family that we have neglected in our pursuits of so many things in life.
A home is more than a house; it is about relationships, of love and acceptance, kindness and forgiveness.
Our Filipino word says it all – tahanan, from the root tahan which is to stop crying.
Tahanan or home is where you stop crying because that is where you are loved and accepted, safe and secured from any harm or danger.
Jesus assures us today in the gospel that we have a home in heaven where there is a room for everyone. This is the reason the same gospel text is the favorite in funeral Masses.
But there is something more about heaven than being a house with many rooms.
It is good that our lectionary used the modern translation of the Greek word “monai” or rooms into “dwelling places” because Jesus in this passage is not merely referring to a place or location but more specifically of a relationship with him in the Father.
In fact, the word “monai” is used only twice in the New Testament, both in the fourth Gospel: at this part and later when Jesus reprimands Philip in verse 23, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him”.
Home and room are a dwelling — a relationship and a privilege of abiding in God’s presence!
When Jesus said, “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”, he never meant it to be taken in the literal sense because if it were so, that would be the only thing he has been doing in heaven these past 2000 years!
What Jesus is telling us along with the Twelve at that time is that by his going to his Passion, Death, and Resurrection after their supper, we are able to dwell, to abide in the loving presence of the Father even here on earth in this very life.
Such was the immense love of Christ when he assured the Apostles, including us in this time of pandemic to “Do not let your hearts be troubled” because his pasch is for our own benefit as our passageway into being with the Father in Jesus when we join him at the Cross.
Remember our gospel last week of Jesus as the “gate of the sheep” because he is “the way and the truth and the life” that now comes into full circle in the Last Supper.
It is in our sharing in his sufferings and pains on the Cross we enter heaven, we dwell in his loving presence that he also becomes manifest in us in this life.
Mothers know best
Connecting now our quarantine slogan of “stay home, save lives” and Sunday gospel with Mother’s Day celebration today, we are reminded of the importance of ties and relationships that we keep especially in this period of pandemic.
In the Old Testament, God is revealed to us like a mother because she is the epitome of fidelity:
“Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name.”Isaiah 49:15-16
How unfortunate that again, the song based on this part of Isaiah “Hindi Kita Malilimutan” (I Will Never Forget You) has become a favorite song in funeral Masses when in fact it is best sung in weddings because it is a pledge of love and fidelity by God who is like a mother.
The mother is the premiere homemaker also referred as the “light of the home” who seem to always have that magic touch in everything, in turning out little things, even scraps, into something lovely and beautiful, and delicious!
Her love and dedication can never be measured and nothing can ever make her happy except the abiding love and presence of her husband and children.
And we all know of our mother’s presence that transcends time and space, not to mention their intuition that defies logic but always true!
No wonder, there is a Jewish saying that “God created mothers because he cannot be everywhere”.
When we are sick, when we feel low, mothers know them all. Nothing can be hidden or kept secret with our moms because they are a home, a dwelling place for each of us all.
In the first reading we have heard the “ordination” of the first seven deacons of the church whose primary task was to take care of the widows as the Apostles were busy proclaiming the Gospel.
Eventually, it paved the way for the many services and ministries in the church that have become the clearest signs of God’s presence in the world. There is no need to publicize the countless efforts of the Church in reaching out to all the marginalized sectors of the society in the whole world that is truly a sign of her being a mother to all.
Now more than ever, in this time of the corona pandemic, we in the Church are challenged to continue being the signs of the living and loving presence of Jesus Christ in the world that has become so materialistic, less humane, even loveless and so unkind.
Let us be a mother, a living and loving presence of God so that people may find a home in us in Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. Amen.
A blessed happy Mothers’ Day to all moms!