My Father’s House

5th Sunday of Easter

Acts 6: 1-7; 1 Pet 2: 4-9; Jn 14: 1-12

Deacon Larry Brockman

So, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.”  Such are Jesus’ words to Thomas this morning.   

And I think that is very comforting to know.  Because it implies diversity in Heaven; it implies that these dwelling places are somehow different, yet each is just as desirable as the next.  Jesus basically tells us that each dwelling place is tailored for the individual; and that if we follow his teaching in this life, then He will come and get us and lead us to our particular place.  How wonderful is that!   

And that kind of gives context to what we do here in this life because all of us are called to do God’s will in this life.  But God’s will is very different for each one of us.  Jesus tells Thomas, that He is “the way, the truth, and the life”.  And indeed, Jesus accepted the Father’s will for Him, and deferred in obedience, accepting death, even death on a cross. 

But now, he is in a special place in Heaven by the Father’s side.   

This morning’s first reading is all about the call of the first Deacons.  The Presbyters needed to concern themselves with the Word and teaching.  They didn’t want that calling to be diluted by having to deal with  some of the more pragmatic tasks in the first Christian communities, such as the distribution of the meals.  So, they chose seven men to be Deacons to do that.   

But notice that they chose men “filled with the spirit and wisdom”.  They didn’t just choose people who were good at being waiters.  They needed such people because they were concerned with the equitable distribution amongst both the Jews and the Gentiles, the mixed congregation of Christians.  These Deacons were charged with making sure that the practical details were met,,and met with fairness.   

What I am suggesting is that such vocations are life-long learning experiences.  When we accept them, we do God’s will and give up our own personal goals in deference to God’s goals.  That vocation may transcend our lives in this world, and somehow help us in our unique places in the next.   

And so, if there is a unique calling for us in this life, and there is a unique place for us in the next life; then there must somehow be a connection between the two.  We don’t live this life for 30, 50, or even 80 years or more without there being some correlation between our learning and our experiences here in this world, with life in the next world.   

This means that the place we will given in the Heavenly Kingdom somehow completes a journey where we finally reconcile diversity and harmony; happiness and engagement; talent and exercise of it; worship of God and rest.   

These concepts are covered in a different way in the second reading which talks about Christ being the cornerstone of a living abode.  Indeed, Christ is the cornerstone of the foundation of the Church; and all of us are “living stones” which have a particular place and function in that abode.  But all together, we constitute one body, the Church, working in harmony and tightly bound together.   

Today is Mother’s Day.  What better example is there for how to fulfill the will of God in a vocation, and benefit from the experience?  Mothers love, nurture, teach, encourage, advise, and then eventually let go of their children.  They are the first teachers, along with their Dads, of the Faith that their children have.  And they provide context for life, the development of a healthy conscience, and so much more for their children.  

Like all true vocations that we are called to, they have to empty themselves and defer to others in the process.  And that is something that all good mothers certainly do.  Ideally, they don’t do it alone, but with the mutual love and support of their husbands.  But their children are of primary importance to them.  They do for their children in deference to themselves over and over again, giving up things often so their children can have instead.   

They do the wash, they cook the meals, they mend, they fuss over every hurt, they comfort, they encourage, they chastise, they correct, they defend; and they take great pride in the people that their children become.  But then, they have to let go, as their children leave home, and make their own families and lives.   

There is a special place in Heaven for Mothers who do this well; that’s one of those places that Jesus was talking about.   

Today, as we celebrate Mothers Day, let us remember all who have had this vocation in our families- our living mothers, and those mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers who have found that special place that Jesus has led them to in His Heavenly Kingdom. 

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