DO NOT LET YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED – Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A

May 10, 2020

Revised Common Lectionary

Acts 7:55-60
Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
1 Peter 2:2-10
John 14:1-14

Lectionary for Mass (RC)

Acts 6:1-7
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19 (22)
1 Peter 2:4-9
John 14:1-12


The Scripture readings for this Fifth Sunday of Easter seem particularly apt for Mother’s Day.

As he prepares them for his own departure, Jesus speaks to the disciples as a mother getting adult children ready to leave the nest. Knowing that they will soon be living without his physical presence, he offers words of comfort: “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (Jn 14:1). In this passage and throughout the farewell discourse in John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks reassuringly, with a deep sense of intimacy and love.

Today’s Epistle reading from 1 Peter begins with an overt maternal reference in words of encouragement for the newly baptized: “Like newborn infants, long for pure, spiritual milk” (1 Pt 2:2). The author urges us to look to our mothering God for the nourishment that fosters growth and nurtures relationships.

Today’s Scripture readings highlight the importance of relationships at the core of Christian faith and life. Like the disciples, we place our faith not in statements or theological formulations but in a person: “Believe in God, believe also in me” (Jn 14:2). We come to know the way not by adhering to a plan but by following a person: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6).

Our connection to the risen One joins us also to one another. Christ is the living stone on whom we are together “built into a spiritual house” (1 Pt 2:5). As children who have all been brought to birth in the watery womb of baptism, we are formed into a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (1 Pt 2:9).

A passage from the writings of fourteenth-century English mystic Julian of Norwich reflects the same sense of reassurance and deep connection that is expressed in today’s Gospel: “Jesus Christ therefore, who himself overcame evil with good, is our true Mother. We received our ‘being’ from him ­ and this is where his maternity starts. And with it comes the gentle protection and guard of love which will never cease to surround us.”

A Song for Today: “Nada te turbe / Nothing Can Trouble”

The text of this song is attributed to the Spanish sixteenth century nun, reformer, and mystic Teresa of Ávila, many of whose writings recount deeply intimate encounters with God. The musical setting, composed by Jacques Berthier for the ecumenical Taizé Community, conveys a profound sense of reassurance as it is sung repeatedly.

Nada te turbe, nada te espante.
Quien a Dios tiene nada le falta.
Nada te turbe, nada te espante.
Solo Dios basta.

Nothing can trouble; nothing can frighten.
Those who seek God shall never go wanting.
Nothing can trouble; nothing can frighten.
God alone fills us.

Text: St. Teresa of Jesus, Taizé Community; Tune: Jacques Berthier
© 1986, 1991, Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications, Inc., agent
All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Image: Interior of the Church of the Light (Japan)

“Word and Song: A Lectionary Reflection” is written by the Executive Director of The Hymn Society, Rev. Dr. Mike McMahon. For his full bio, click here and scroll down to the “staff” section.