At the beginning of today’s Gospel, Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me; in my Father’s house there are many “rooms,” many dwelling places.”  For us, who are struggling with frustrations and feelings of losing our faith, Jesus’ words bring us comforting news and great assurance of hope.

This is a message of hope we need to hear again and again as we face moments of darkness and doubt in our own life journey.  But we might wonder: “During the sufferings and difficulties of life, how can we come to experience such a deep and abiding peace in our lives and hearts?”  The answer is to believe that Jesus is the only one, who can bring us salvation and true and lasting peace.

To totally experience such peace, we have to commit ourselves to God and seek His love.  Jesus promises the “dwelling place” in heaven, but first, we must experience and build the “dwelling place” here on earth at present!  Let us ask ourselves: “What kind of dwelling places are we making here?  Are we making dwelling places of loving families and peaceful communities?”  Let us make homes of peace, compassion, forgiveness, and love!

Let us have a strong faith and trust in Jesus that He is with us always and Jesus will provide us with what we most truly need.  Jesus will give us the strength we need to persevere in faith and Jesus will guide us on the way, even in the midst of pain, suffering, and darkness.   Let us trust that Jesus is the Light that pierces the darkness that he strengthens and sustains us, and that Jesus will lead us to the light of a brighter day!

I remember a story about a survivor of a shipwreck, who was washed up on to a small and isolated island.  He prayed passionately for God to rescue him.  Every day, he looked for some chance of help, but none seemed approaching.  Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of wood, to protect him from the elements and to store his few possessions.

One day, after searching for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky.  He felt the worst had happened and everything was lost.  He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger.  He cried out, “God! How could you do this to me?”  Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him!

“How did you come to know that I was here,” he asked. They said: “We saw the signal of fire and smoke, which you sent, and we came here to rescue you.”  The smoke and fire that he blamed God for was an instrument to rescue him.  It is easy to get discouraged when things go bad, but we should not lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pains and sufferings.

Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning; it just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God!

Let us follow the words of St. Mother Teresa, “Sight is not faith, and hearing is not faith, neither is feeling faith; but believing when we neither see, hear, nor feel is faith; and everywhere the Bible tells us our salvation is to be by faith. Therefore, we must believe before we feel, and often against our feelings, if we would honor God by our faith.” 

“Faith in action is service. We try to be holy because we believe. In most modern rooms, you see an electrical light that can be turned on with a switch. But, if there is no connection with the main powerhouse, then there can be no light. Faith and prayer are the connection with God, and when that is there, there is service.!”

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