Today’s Gospel reading takes place at the Last Supper – just after Judas has left and Jesus has told the remaining eleven disciples that He must soon depart too. This reading starts and ends with the command that to believe in God is to believe in Jesus. I feel that after all we’ve lived in the last few months, the uncertainty, the anxiety, some may have felt fear; how many of us can truly and honestly say that we’ve felt belief? A troubled heart is part of our humanity; it feels like when we deal with one issue, two others pop up. And if we currently have nothing to worry about, we tend to worry about what may come. Oh the anxiety! My friends, rest assured that there is a big difference between being worried and having a troubled heart. The difference lies in how we deal with the inevitable problems and challenges that come our way. Jesus offers us a solution to having an untroubled heart: “Believe in God, believe also in me.”
It seems simple enough doesn’t it? Believe in God. But does this happen naturally, are we to just shout from the rooftops: “I believe in God” and it’ll just make us believe? Worry not, if this is where you are. First, just remember that God loves you, period, no conditions. Second, as far back as the last supper, people struggled to believe. It’s part of that human condition that I mentioned earlier. Most of us need to see it with our own eyes and because of that Jesus said, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.” By the works, Jesus is referring to all that he has done in his time ministering to God’s people. To believe in the works, is to believe in Jesus and to believe in Jesus is to believe in God. He reassured his disciples that to believe in one is to believe in the other. “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”
Our faith (and belief) is, and should be grounded by, the care Jesus took for us back then and in our future: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” Jesus said this to his disciples to reassure them that there is ample room where He will be. Therefore, they need have no fear that they will not find a place for them in His company. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also.” If the disciples (and us) know Jesus, then they also know the way to God. He speaks of their mutual indwelling. If you cannot believe this then maybe you can believe on account of Jesus’ “works”, these also being the works of God. Those who believe have the power to do these and even greater works. This seems extraordinary, but is really just a matter of believing with untroubled hearts, that the power comes from God – this we will witness in next week’s Gospel.