In today’s gospel, Jesus leads his listeners from a visible, tangible reality to the spiritual world it represents. When he speaks of his Father’s house, we may think of our own homes—places which may need repair and cleaning, but where we are our most authentic selves. At home we drop the masks; there we laugh, cry and love freely. We are as intimate with God as with those who live in the same house.
Jesus’ promise that God’s house has many rooms reassures those who worry whether they’d fit into the celestial palaces often portrayed in art. We’re too earthy or grimy to hobnob with angels on golden floors. “Ah no,” smiles Jesus. “If your idea of heaven is a mountain cabin beside a flowing trout stream, that’s what I’ve prepared. So too for those who want the English Tudor in the rolling hills, or the beach cabana.”
It’s a feast for the imagination and a comfort to those whose loved ones have died. How sweet to think of them happy in the home they’ve always wanted, carefully prepared by their Creator. Jesus’ promise stems from the marriage custom of his day. After the betrothal, a young man left to build a room onto his parents’ extended family dwelling for himself and his bride. Before he left, he told her, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you may be too.” Imagine Jesus speaking these wondrous words to us.
Very helpful. My brother died recently and you’ve helped me imagine his mansion.