One of the favorite melodies of Dame Joan Sutherland, often used as an encore at recitals, is the familiar "Home, Sweet Home." When we welcome guests, we often hear ourselves saying, "Make yourself at home." Another famous song from the music "West Side Story" is "There's a Place For Us." To be sure, each of us longs for a place in which we can find comfort and solace away from the frantic and oftentimes frightening places we find ourselves. Imagine how the victims of the recent terrorist activity in Boston felt when they first returned to their homes.
The Gospels tell us that the apostles left everything they knew in order to follow Jesus. While I am sure that the experience of being in Jesus' presence was some consolation, I am also sure that the transition from the familiar to the unfamiliar was difficult. Then, quite unexpectedly, after a year or so of walking with Jesus, he told them that he was not going to be with them much longer. Now what?
The very familiar "Do not be afraid!" which is reiterated throughout the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures appears at the beginning of chapter fourteen of St. John's Gospel in slightly different words: Do not let your hearts be troubled (John 14:1a). We all know that these words are much easier to say than to put into practice. Just as they were beginning to feel somewhat comfortable in their new "family," the apostles are told that Jesus will not be with them for much longer.
The answer to their fears is faith. Faith doesn't erase the human emotion of fear or anxiety. Being worried is simply part of being human. Mothers are especially good at it. However, worries and anxieties about the future can be faced with faith. Living with faith means setting aside our human anxieties long enough to let hope overrule them. Faith means accepting that what Jesus says is true. Faith means letting Jesus be our compass on the way. Faith means putting our trust in the Resurrection of Jesus. To be sure, it is a daily task, one that is never completed.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator