- Fr. John Jennings
Lost: Where to Now (5th Sunday Easter)
Being lost is a common experience. We have all been there many times, and in fact in many ways. Occasionally we can be lost while walking or driving but more commonly, we find ourselves lost in our life journeys and choices.
To be lost is frequently an experience of being overwhelmed in a task or job we have undertaken or some life situation in which we have found ourselves. This can be the result of some decision or choice we have made and now lament as circumstances change. Or it can be simply the way things are working out for us and is beyond our control. There is no one to blame and no clear or certain way out of it.
The result of such an experience is a great sense of isolation and of being alone in it. Often it comes with discouragement and disappointment. We might blame others or we might blame ourselves. No matter, we are lost – and hope evaporates. We can find ourselves in a time of darkness of soul, a lack of joy and a loss of vision for the future. Life’s disappointments can place us in such darkness. Where to now?
In John’s Gospel, the last section is often called “The Book of Glory”. It relates the final steps of Jesus’ path to crucifixion and then resurrection. Before the glory or new life, there will be a dying and darkness. Jesus will challenge his disciples as they enter into this dark experience. He will also encourage and support them.
The writers of all the Gospels wrote to pass on the memory of Jesus, his mission and his message. A core of that story was his passion, death and resurrection and of how he continues among us through the Spirit. John 14:1-12 shows Jesus as he prepares his disciples for the darkness of his crucifixion. He reassures them he will return to be with them as the way to the kingdom. They need not be troubled or fearful. They are called to trust in God and trust in Jesus himself who showed them the way.
John’s Gospel is the latest of the four gospels. The first level of meaning tells of the darkness and anxiety among the disciples who had walked with Jesus. But the Gospel was written more than a generation after Jesus death and resurrection for the new disciples of the writer’s on time. This offers a second level of meaning. John wrote for these later disciples of the writers’ own age who faced the darkness and rejection of their own communities. He called for them to have faith and to live in hope. But there is a third level, our own present experience.
Today, in the midst of the darkness of Covid-19 with its challenges of uncertainty and isolation for us, the words of Jesus which the Gospel presents are a reassurance for disciples of our own day. Ultimately, darkness gives way to light. Where to now? To light, to love and to hope – the way, the truth and the life.
It is no small thing that this Gospel also reveals a call to action, the result of such trust, hope and love: “I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do.” Truly, Good News in this time.
Reflection Question ~ What Good News of faith, hope and love is revealed in my actions at this time?