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12th May 2017

Sunday Reflection: Fifth Sunday of Easter Year A

Faith and Values

Sunday Reflection: Fifth Sunday of Easter Year A

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God and Believe in me.

John 14:1

It has been maintained that there are at least 365 references to not being afraid in the scriptures. Again, in today’s Gospel the risen Jesus tells us not to fear, not to let our hearts be troubled. How do we do that? By believing in God and Jesus comes the answer. An interesting exercise is to catalogue how many times each day we are apprehensive or fearful. The list can be long and daunting. The tag line for the film The Shawshank Redemption was, Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free. It is too easy to become a prisoner to our day-to-day fears big and small. Fear shuts us down, makes us doubt both God and ourselves. In truth, it can hold us prisoner. In the Gospel passage St John goes on to say that God will send the Paraclete. Fr. Nicholas King SJ, in his commentary on the New Testament, says this, ‘The Paraclete is one of John’s happier contributions to Christian Theology. The term means something like a lawyer for the defence, someone I call to my side’. He continues, ‘The Paraclete functions as a token that the disciples are not, after all, abandoned by Jesus but alive and beloved. Secondly, the Paraclete’s job is to teach you everything’. That is a tall order. Our colleague Dr Morag MacDonald, who knew a thing or two about how God works in mysterious ways, once said, ‘Jesus didn’t come to make it easy. He came to show us how to do it’. Today’s Gospel points out how that is to be done. Jesus says, ‘I AM the way, the Truth and the Life’! What a wonderful and radical model. Does this mean that life’s troubles will magically disappear? Well, no! What it does mean is that God is with us through all of it. In the most extraordinary way, God has got our back, shows us how to proceed and even sends a lawyer for the defence to watch out for us. It is no wonder that Jesus talks about his message as The Good News! The Good News that sets us free!

Lynn McWilliams