Updated: May 10, 2020
5th Sunday of Easter, Year A
3-6 year olds
(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
The reading for this Sunday takes place at the Last Supper Jesus eats with his friends before he dies and rises to new life. His disciples are realizing that Jesus is going to die soon, and they are upset. They don't want him to die; they want him to stay with them. They don't understand yet that he will rise to new life, never to die again.
Jesus tells them,
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.’
Jesus knows they are upset. Death seems like an end. Everything changes. Jesus knows how they are feeling. He tells them,
‘Believe in God, believe also in me.’
That seems like a strange thing to say. They have been Jesus' followers for so long. Of course they believe in God and in Jesus. I think he is asking them to remember what they know.
To remember who he is.
Who is he? We know that he is Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the one who calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
The One who,
goes ahead of them
the sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:4)
The disciples need to remember this.
‘In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places.’
Jesus reminds his disciples that God is his Father. "Dwelling-places" are homes. So Jesus is saying that God's house has many homes. What can that mean? It sounds like God has room for a lot of people to make their home.
I wonder if this makes the disciples feel better, or if they are still upset that Jesus will leave and go to his Father's house. They don't want to be left alone. They want Jesus to stay with them. Jesus says,
‘If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
Why does the Good Shepherd goes ahead of his sheep? He is making a home ready for them. A home with Jesus? That sounds very good.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself’
Are the disciples listening? Do they hear this Good News? Death seems like an end, but it is not! Jesus will not leave them alone; he will come again! The Good Shepherd wants to be together with his sheep for all time, so that,
‘where I am, there you may be also.’
The disciples need to remember who Jesus is. They know him. They know his voice. Jesus reminds them that they will not be left alone because they already know him, and,
‘You know the way to the place where I am going.’
Of course they know the way. We do, too, don't we?
How do the sheep know where to go?
They follow the Good Shepherd.