Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

In yesterday’s gospel, Jesus spoke of how well He knows each of us. Today, He tells the apostles to “not let your hearts be troubled[…] in my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.” He goes on to reassure them that He has prepared a dwelling place for each. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis observes “how gloriously different are the saints.” Each of them is known, and each of them has a special dwelling place prepared by the Son. We can see this in artwork such as the tapestry at the Los Angeles cathedral; on it you have intellectual giants such as St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, simple peasants such as St. Juan Diego, bishops, religious, laity, kings and commoners alike. All have had a place prepared for them.

This is simultaneously a comfort and a challenge to us. We can call it a comfort because we know that Jesus, who knows us so well, has likewise prepared a place in the Father’s house where we can one day call home. It is a challenge because this is equally true of each person we meet. There is no one of whom this cannot be said. Each person we meet is a possible saint-in-the-making. There is no one we can write off, as easy or as tempting as this might be. And if even the worst person we meet has the potential to be at home in heaven, we are obliged to help them on this journey in any way we can. Hearing the readings today, it is appropriate for us to ask who those people are in our lives we are most likely to write off, and how we can reach out to them so that they too will feel at home in the dwelling place Jesus has prepared for them.

May 16th, 2014