Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
Taken from this week’s Gospel reading, John 14, we hear a passage usually associated with funeral masses, when Jesus is describing the Kingdom to come. This passage is sandwiched between two parables that are lifted up in our work with children in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Last week, we heard a most loved parable with Jesus saying, “I am the Good Shepherd,” the touchstone of exploring the mystery of Jesus the Good Shepherd in the atrium. We have found that children fall in love with God through Jesus the Good Shepherd, one who calls by name, who feeds, cares and loves the sheep, much like a parent. Later in chapter 15, we hear Jesus saying “I am the True Vine.” In this parable, Jesus instructs his disciples and us today, to abide—to abide in me as I abide in you. Jesus uses that word “abide” eleven times, imploring us to stay, to remain, to make our home or abode in him as he does with us.
Our parish life as we know and love it has been disrupted. We have found new ways to participate in corporate worship and formation at home. The children of the parish are missing their time and work in the atrium, Holy Chow, and the Holy Eucharist. We are connecting with the children through weekly prayer table sessions and nightly bedtime readings, but parents are serving as the main formation leaders and teachers. During this time, we are reminded that the family is the primary community in the faith journey of the child; the “domestic church” in the home. Parents have shared the gift of life with their children, and through Baptism, have enriched them to share, to abide, in God’s own life. Through faith, attitude toward others, and trust in a loving God, parents are influencing the development of the faith of our children, especially at this time.
Perhaps, when we hear this scripture, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places,” we might consider these words in the present tense. We are indeed experiencing many dwelling places as we seek to abide, to remain, as we look not just to the Kingdom to come, but in the Kingdom that is here and now, inside of us.
Anna Hurdle, Director of Children’s Formation