Absolute compassion, Total certainty
Over the past days, our mass readings have been tracking through one of Paul’s Missionary journeys and Jesus’ final discourse in John’s Gospel.
The Pauline account makes sense in the context of Easter, although we haven’t quite reached the Ascension and the Great Commission “All authority has been given to me, go therefore and proclaim the Good News…” which Paul is so heroically and effectively doing. The Johannine Gospel seems less on point recording some of Jesus’ most intimate words to His disciples but here detached from the ominous background of His impending Passion. But as always there is a reason for the liturgical choices.
Jesus is speaking to us as much as to the Apostles and His words are of the most sensitive father/brother/carer – “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still and trust in me…” Like the Apostles were then, we may be feeling oppressed and threatened by a hostile universe but Jesus is with us.
A good parent is tender and warm but also an effective protector. Jesus tells us “I am the Way, the Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” There is steel in these words. Jesus the comforter that suffers with us – radically more than us – is also Christ the King, the Lion of Judah. The Resurrection points to the Ascension but also to the Second Coming and as CS Lewis notes “He is not a tame lion!”