Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Lectionary: 297

The disciples said to Jesus, “…Because of this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now?

I hear Jesus answering his disciples with a familiar scepticism, “Do you now?” They seem to think they understand something. They have faith and have been saved!
Perhaps they do understand something and the Master is wise not to scoff at their budding insight, but they are about to undergo a firestorm that will leave the banner of their faith a tattered memory of grief.
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone.
I am fascinated by Jesus' remark about their scattering to their homes. It reminds me of that place in revolutionary Paris where Jean Paul Jean lived with his adopted waif, Colette. The city was in uproar while the students fought with royalist soldiers over the barricades; but, out there in the suburbs, life went on at its own quiet pace. The ex-convict Jean managed to carry the wounded Marius through the storm sewers to that safe place. Home -- in 18th century Paris or 1st century Jerusalem, seems to be a place apart from the turmoil that occasionally sweeps over the city. 

It can be a place to ponder the Gospel or to escape it:
  • When John's disciples asked Jesus, "Where do you live?" he said, "Come and see." And they went and stayed with him. 
  • The Beloved Disciple took Jesus' mother, from that hour, into his home. 
  • After examining the empty tomb, Peter and the unnamed Beloved Disciple  “returned to their homes.” (John 20:10) -- perhaps to ponder with Mary the meaning of this unexpected development. 
  • But -- when the temple police failed to arrest Jesus because they believed he might be the Messiah, the authorities argued with Nicodemus for a moment before dispersing to their own homes. (John 7:53)
We can hide from the Gospel in our homes, busying ourselves with mundane distractions; or, like the Beloved Disciple, we can welcome her into our homes with her history of suffering and violence and hope.  

Jesus's question, "Do you now?" reminds us that belief means nothing unless it is practiced. It may be one of those good intentions that paves the road to perdition or an opening to Paradise. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.