In My Father's House There are Many Dwelling Places.
The Fourth Friday of Easter; the Memorial of Saints Nereus & Achilleus, Martyrs; or, the Memorial of Saint Pancras, Martyr.*
Lessons from the feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Acts 13: 26-33.
• Psalm 2: 6-11.
• John 14: 1-6.
When either memorial is observed during Easter Time, the lessons are always from the feria as above.
The Third Class Feast of Saints Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla & Pancras, Martyrs.
Lessons from the proper, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Wisdom 5: 1-5.
• [The Gradual is omitted.]
• John 4: 46-53.
Friday of the Paralytic; a Postfestive Day of Mid-Pentecost; and, the Feast of the Holy Fathers Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus, & Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople.**
Lessons from the pentecostarion, according to the Ruthenian recension of the Byzantine Rite:
• Acts 12: 1-11.
• John 8: 31-42.
7:19 AM 5/12/2017 — Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth and the life,” or so the Holy Gospel tells us. In knowing Him we know the purpose of life. Our life is an ongoing journey toward Him, and it’s in the Holy Gospel that we learn the characteristics of His life, how to imitate Him, how to follow in His footsteps, not so much in the sense that one man will attempt to follow in the footsteps of another simply because he is admired, but because we know that Jesus is God Who has become a Man, so in following Him we follow God to Himself.
So as Christian souls we want to identify with our Lord, want our daily lives to be a reflection of His. In this way, we strive, in a good way, to become Christ; but, to become Christ we must see ourselves in Christ. It isn’t enough to have a general idea of the spirit of the message of Jesus. We have to learn how to observe the details of His life, His attitudes, His priorities, the kind of people with which He surrounded Himself, and what He tasked them to do. Saint Josemaría Excrivá once said, “When you love someone, you want to know all about him, his life and his personality, so as to become like him. That is why we have to meditate on the life of Jesus, from his birth in a stable right through to his death and resurrection” (Christ is Passing By, 14).
Of course, in doing this, we recognize that we are studying our Lord’s humanity. Not to say that His divinity doesn’t shine through at all times, because it does. Everything He does as a Man He does as God, and because He is God. All the more reason for us to mark well His human reactions and attitudes: when we see His compassion when He meets people in need, when we see Him tired after a long day’s journey, when we see Him impressed by the faith of a mother or of a centurion, when we see Him patient with the defects of His most faithful followers.
And the first—and perhaps most important—lesson this exercise teaches us is stated outright by our Lord Himself at the very beginning of today’s lesson: “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places” (John 14: 2 RM3). It doesn’t simply teach us how we must be concerned with all sorts of people, but most importantly it teaches us we don’t have to fit the cookie-cutter to be worthy of our Lord’s love. No matter who we are, no matter what we’ve done, no matter what struggles beset us, we will always have a place in the Heart of Jesus.
* Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers during the reign of the Emperor Trajan in the first century. According to tradition they were martyred when they embraced the Faith and left the military.
At fourteen, Pancras was martyred in 304 during the reign of Diocletian.
** The Feast of Mid-Pentecost, always on a Wednesday, marks the exact half-way point between Easter and Pentecost on the Byzantine calendar. It has a brief postfestive period.