Fifth Sunday of Easter – Cycle A
Reflecting on John 14:1-2
There are some things that the authors of the Gospels thought we knew. But we read the ancient texts at a great distance, historically and culturally. When Jesus says to his frightened disciples the night before his death, “In my Father’s house are many mansions” he isn’t speaking in metaphor! He reaches into the most sacred vow a Jewish man can make. He uses the exact words that a man speaks to a woman when he betrothes himself to her.
In Jesus’ day, as in ours, the betrothal of a man and a woman was a sacred celebration. At the ceremonial meal the bridegroom said to his betrothed, “Do not let your heart be troubled. In my father’s house are many rooms. I am going now to prepare a place for you. I will come back for you, so that where I am you also may be. If it were not so I would have told you.”
And then he left her. He went back to his father’s house and built an extra room on to the family home where his new bride would live and they would raise their children. A generation later, the sons born in that house would make the same solemn promise to their betrothed, and another room would be added on.
So that means that on the night before he died, Jesus the Bridegroom betrothed himself to us forever. That’s what the author of John’s Gospel thought we knew. And I guess that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever learned in all my years of studying Scripture.
In what ways do you sense the covenant Christ has made with you?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
I saw this in the Risen Christ Bulletin and just had to comment on it. It’s beautiful; I agree with Kathy it is probably the most beautiful thing I have learned in Scripture! In a week I’m out of school and I plan to meditate a lot this summer, looking for some guidance. This is the passage I will start with! Thanks, Kathy!
Ah, so very lovely, Kathy! There’s one more reason why some scholars think the author of this gospel may have been female (or at the very least a male in tuned with his anima/feminine side). Thanks for the jump start to a deeper reflection on this farewell discourse.
What a wonderful insight! This affirms how marriage remains the prime metaphor in our relationship with Christ rather than celibacy.
Do you suppose that the exact words Jesus used to build the relationship with His Church were borrowed by that same Church for the Sacrament of Matrimony?