Tuesdays With Teresa - 16/05/2017

I hope those of you who are mums enjoyed your Mother’s Day and recalled the sacred gift of being a mum. 

A few weeks ago I recorded a reflection, for the Rhema FM Journey Program, on the Gospel (John 14:1-12) that was read on Sunday 14 May, the fifth Sunday of Easter. I thought I would share this with you as part of my message because I tried to tie it into the secular celebration of Mother’s Day.

This is what was recorded, and what was played at 6.30pm on Sunday night:

I am conscious that most of you hearing this reading will associate it with the Gospel reading you hear at funerals, where it is chosen to give comfort to those who are mourning the loss of a loved one in the hope that they are with their God; ‘There are many rooms in my Father’s house.’ and ‘I am going to prepare a place for you.’

And yet what John, the Gospel writer, is attempting to give voice to is Jesus’ preparation of his disciples for his own farewell meal, his death and then ascension – leaving them for good, but then sending them the Spirit of God. In this preparation, he responds to Thomas’ desperate question: ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ to which Jesus responds, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.’

A better translation from the Greek for ‘There are many rooms in my Father’s house’ is ‘In my Father’s household there are many dwellings.’

How might we make sense of this Gospel on this Mother’s Day?

As a mum, I am aware that our home has been the most significant place of faith formation for our children, and now our grandchildren. It is in this home, this dwelling, that they have learned about the Way, Jesus, and it is Jesus who shows us the way of living and growing to fullness of life.

I know that it is in our homes that people meet God.

It is at our dinner tables, in table fellowship, that people meet God.

It is in our most precious relationships, in the family, that people meet God.

Therefore, it must follow that it is in our ordinary but sacred homes that people are formed as disciples for discipleship. Our homes are the spiritual powerhouses from which people are sent out into the world. Our homes are the dwelling place of God and we in turn are that dwelling place also.

So on this Mother’s Day, I hope you are able to reflect on your home as the sacred living temple, in which God, as Father, Son and Spirit, dwells in the here and now. It is in our homes that people are formed as bearers of God’s truth and life.

Our home was filled with lots of activity and life when our children were growing up, where they learned some of the truth about themselves and each other. We, as parents, guided and accompanied them in the way of love, so that the truth was not hurtful and that their lives were fruitful, based on Jesus as the Way. It has become more evident to me that our children are an amazing reflection of us, in much the same way that Jesus was in the Father and the Father was in him.

Baptism signs us with being the indwelling place of God. We are the ones who live the way, truth and life. We are God’s home, and like any home we need to keep on making it sacred, so that when others encounter us, like those who encountered Jesus, there will be a sense of holiness, a life lived with purpose, a life lived in faith, hope and love. Those who meet us will realise that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

On Saturday about 30 of us gathered for our Diocesan Pastoral Council meeting with the people of the City Region. While the numbers were disappointing, the conversation was not, and a good and solid conversation took place. Certainly the core ingredient to the conversation was ‘what has this got to do with Jesus?’ and ‘what would Jesus do?’ Instead of asking what the Church asks of us, the question needs to be what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ? What does it mean to be a missionary disciple? I was impressed that many of those who gathered had prepared their thoughts so they could speak, but also listen and respond. One of the parishioners was almost 90 years old and he had done some very serious thinking around the Church before the Reformation and our Church now. Certainly what people valued most about their parishes was their sense of identity and community, and their connectedness in serving the wider community, particularly those members who are not well. Those who gathered seem to appreciate the information session which provided them with an update of the functioning of the Chancery, the Catholic Schools Office and our schools, as well as CatholicCare Social Services.

The Diocesan Pastoral Council will now reflect upon the five gatherings that have been held around the diocese over the past two years, and begin to work towards planning how we might prepare for the Australian 2020 Synod. Evidently Pope Francis’ vision for a ‘Synodal Church’ is where there is mutual listening, from which everyone has something to learn.

It is hard to imagine that these are indeed sacred times and we have a critical role to play in mapping the way forward. Our mutual relationships form a significant web of connectivity, from which, and through which, the Holy Spirit will guide us.

 

The article TUESDAYS WITH TERESA: Our households are the dwelling places of God first appeared on mnnews.today, your local source of Catholic news for Newcastle, Maitland and the Hunter Valley. Follow mnnews.today on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Teresa Brierley
Vice Chancellor Pastoral Ministries