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Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: May 6, 2023
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor preached the following homily at St. Michael Church in Van Buren on Saturday, May 6, 2023.
Have you ever been on a trust walk? This is a team building activity to help people practice trusting each other. When I did it they blindfolded me and then my navigator/partner steered me around all sorts of obstacles and changes of terrain using verbal instructions exclusively — not touching me to steer me at all.
For instance, saying "Turn to your left, okay now in about three steps there is a big rock you need to step over, okay now there's some gravel, etc."
In today's Gospel Jesus prepares his disciples for a very difficult turn in their trust walk with him. Up to this point Jesus had navigated them successfully through all the controversies and remarkable experiences of his public ministry. Now they were at the Last Supper and Jesus knew that as much as he had tried to prepare them, they still didn't understand what they were about to face.
Jesus prepares us in the Church, in the sacraments, in prayer and in Scripture for every — as yet unknown — twist and turn that we will ever face in this life. We're not exactly blindfolded, but sometimes we get so thoroughly blindsided by events that it seems like we are.
Jesus was very concerned that they might get so discouraged that they'd lose faith and give up, so now he reminds them explicitly that they're on a trust walk and he's still their navigator. He begins by reassuring them: "Do not let your hearts be troubled."
Yes, he's going away — there's going to be a time of separation — but now they know the way to proceed. That way is the way of Jesus, the way of doing the works Jesus does, Jesus who is himself the way, the truth and the life. By uniting themselves to Jesus, they will not be separated from him even once he has gone.
But doing Jesus' works, they will come to the Father through Jesus whose works they do. And in the end, Jesus will return to take them to himself, where they will remain permanently united to Jesus and the Father in the dwelling place Jesus has prepared for them.
And the same is true for us. After all, we're on a trust walk with Jesus too. Our entire life as Christians is a trust walk with Jesus — that's what faith is all about. Jesus prepares us in the Church, in the sacraments, in prayer and in Scripture for every — as yet unknown — twist and turn that we will ever face in this life. We're not exactly blindfolded, but sometimes we get so thoroughly blindsided by events that it seems like we are.
Sometimes we get really frustrated and discouraged because we don't have the whole picture, and so our faith falters. We forget that we're on a trust walk and Jesus is the navigator who guides us step by step around every obstacle and change of terrain.
He doesn't say: "Okay, now go to the destination." He says: "Turn to your left, okay now think about what you just heard, okay now allow your soul to be nourished by the Eucharist, okay now reach out and try to smooth things out with your daughter-in-law, and so on."
And so he reassures us too: "Do not let your hearts be troubled." Yes, there is separation but you know how to proceed, doing what Jesus would do, Jesus who is himself the way, the truth and the life.