Hints of Promise
Fifth Sunday of Easter. Fr Irenaeus Vincent preaches on the need to hear the voice of the Risen Christ.
My dear friends, it can be said that when Jesus walked among us, his disciples had to learn to take hints. They had to learn to take hints about who Jesus was and his mission among them. After all, the man from Nazareth often spoke to his followers in parables, which they often misunderstood.
Indeed, even when Jesus was about to go back to his Father in heaven, he continued with his style of dropping hints without any clear explanation. And today’s gospel is a good example, which recalls the first part of a farewell speech given by Jesus to his followers.
Jesus began his speech saying:
Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me.
Yet despite the fact that this was a positive and reassuring opening, it was still ambiguous and needed further explanation, since Jesus had again decided to link himself closely with the Most High God. It was a link that had always caused discontent among certain of the Jewish people.
So, aware of the impending agitation, Jesus proceeded to give an explanation why people should not have troubled hearts, why they should trust in God, and more importantly, why they should trust in him:
In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, would I have told you that I go and prepare a place for you?
Yet the reasons given by Jesus to support his opening request are rather disappointing because it has all the marks of a fallacious argument. It seems fallacious because Jesus supports his claim with arguments that are dependent on the very subject that needs legitimating, that is, on himself.
In other words, the Jews were already apprehensive about Jesus’s claim of his supposed link with God and were further agitated by his requests that they should trust in him. Yet annoyingly, Jesus still used himself to validate his request.
Yet, in defence of Jesus, one must appreciate that he had always worked on one premise. It was a premise he always stuck by, no matter the circumstances, no matter who understood or misunderstood him. And he spells out that premise in his farewell speech:
I am the way, the truth and the life; no one can come to the Father but by me.
This is the same premise we Christians must appreciate if we are to truly experience the Risen Lord. After that, like the disciples of Jesus, we will just have to learn to take hints in our lives as we receive them on a daily basis through the working of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to have peace.
Indeed, God is sending us hints everyday in our lives. God sends us hints through various people, through various situations, through various problems, through various struggles. We can always expect a hint. It is up to us, however, to take the hint before it’s too late.
But even if we neglect to take a hint in our lives, we must stay focused and look to the future with hope. For when Jesus talks of his Father’s house having many rooms, or else he would not have said so, it may seem to be a fallacious argument. However, it’s just another way of Jesus dropping us a hint. It’s a powerful hint which states that one can always be assured that one has a secure future with God.