homily – April 20

John 14:1-12

Have you ever had a family gathering and more people showed up than you expected and you find yourself trying to make more room at the table. People have to move over, make room for Uncle Harry or Aunt Gen. As for having enough to eat, just put more water in the soup or another potato in the pot. We’ll make due.

Today’s gospel is part of the long conversation Jesus had with his disciples the night before He was to die. He had so many things to tell them, He has so many things to give them, especially His body and Blood in the bread and wine of their meal.

One of the things Jesus shares with His disciples is the beautiful image of His Father’s house – a house of many rooms, a house with rooms for all. We’ve all heard the different jokes about heaven and different people of different faiths and denominations thinking they are the only ones there. They were quite convinced there would be no room for those who believed differently than themselves.

This image Jesus uses of the house with many rooms is an image of God’s boundless love, an all embracing love for all. We all know our personal ability to love is quite limited and we can be quite selective, even stingy. We have just so much room in our hearts for others. We often find it difficult to make room in our lives for those who have hurt or disappointed us. This is so often the case in families, we let slights and misunderstandings linger for years and we close people out of our lives, even slam the door on them. We often have no room in our lives for people of different faiths or cultures. What Jesus is telling us in today’s gospel is God’s love for this world is “room” and larger than anything we can imagine. Jesus is telling His quite limited followers – which we all are – that despite the fact that our hearts are so narrow; God’s “house” has dwelling places which will be open to all.

As a nation we are into another time of questioning of our immigration policies, who should be let in, who should be kept out. When we look at our own family histories we have to acknowledge that, thank God this country had room for us. Let’s not get into that mentality of saying, ‘close the doors, we have no more room.’

Making room in our lives for each other will be a continuing sign of what God’s love means. God’s love is an all embracing love, a limitless love and an unconditional love.

As we continue this Mass we can pray for ourselves and for each other that will always be willing to make room in our lives and love for anyone and everyone who comes into our lives. May we be blessed with a bigness of heart which images the boundless love of God for each of us and be willing to make room for others.