Commentary on the Gospel of

David Crawford - Creighton University's Reinert Alumni Library - Retired


The end of the semester is upon us and Creighton undergraduates are getting ready for final exams that start next week.  (Dental and Law schools have already started theirs.)  Anxiety levels are high across campus.  Students worry (some justifiably) that they have not studied enough, and even the best prepared are nervous that they will have missed something along the way.  Study time becomes more focused as they ask – sometimes in class, sometimes in their own heads – “Will this be on the test?” and “What is the right answer?”  Faculty, hoping they have adequately prepared the students, spend the last class sessions and office hours clarifying confusing concepts and trying to make sure that the essential points are understood.  Students listen closely to faculty suggestions for exam prep strategies, but they (universally) disregard the advice: “Don’t worry.  You know this.”

In today’s Gospel reading, I see echoes of Final Exam time for Jesus and the disciples.  The setting is Jerusalem in the days before the crucifixion (although the disciples did not yet grasp what would happen).  In John 12, we witness Jesus triumphantly entering Jerusalem.  In John 13, we see Jesus washing feet, a Passover meal, Judas leaving to betray Jesus, and a prediction of Peter’s denial.  With that in mind, we can eavesdrop on the conversation that Jesus has with the remaining disciples at the start of chapter 14.

The teacher starts with “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”  He stresses the need for faith and then reminds them of things he has told them previously, finishing with the encouragement “you know the way.”  The response of Thomas (the student in class who asks the question that everyone else is thinking) is essentially, “I am worried I have missed something.  Just tell me the right answer.”  The teacher patiently responds: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

We often find ourselves anxious and uncertain about so many things in our lives, and those moments are even more stressful when there is no clear solution to a problem.  These are times for a quick review of the basic points from the opening verses of John 14.  Be calm.  Trust in Jesus.  Remember His promises.  Follow Him.

In other words:  Don’t worry.  You know this.


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