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Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A Homily - The Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year A) The Ascension


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 26(27):1,4, 7-8 ©
Second Reading – 1 Peter 4:13-16 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 14:18
The Gospel According to John 17:1-11 ©

(NJB)

The Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year A) The Ascension


Be mindful!

Prayer is good, though it is nothing without charity.

Go out and do good, love one another as Jesus did.

That is what we are meant to take away from the reading from the Book of Acts.

God is good.

Open your eyes and you will see God’s goodness, you will see the goodness of God even in the faces of your adversaries.

See them.

God is good.

Open your ears and you will hear God’s goodness, even in the voices of your opponents.

Listen to them.

God is good.

God loves you, and God loves all people.
Open your heart to the people, even your enemies, invite them to your table

Share with them.

Be mindful!

If you share in the sufferings of Christ, know that you are on the side of justice and mercy.

And know this, if you are suffering and it is not because of the love you bear to all people, then your suffering is not the suffering of Christ

One way or another, do not boast of your suffering, it is unseemly and arrogant.

Be humble!

You will get nothing extra for your service to God, your share in God’s blessing will be the same as that of anyone and everyone else.

Remember the laborers in the vineyard.

We may have faith in this, because God loves all people equally, and the spirit of God, of God who created the universe; that spirit rests on all people without distinction, we share in it the same.

Good and bad, we are the same.

God, the creator of the universe, God abandon’s no-one.

God will leave no orphans, no-one shall be left apart, stranded in the throws of sin.

Not one of us will be lost.

Consider the Gospel for today.

Consider how the apostles get it wrong…again

Be mindful of how the writers of John’s Gospel reveal their fundamental misunderstanding of Jesus and mission.

Strive to be more patient than they were.
Listen!

The ministry of Jesus was centered on real people, actual people living real lives, facing real hardship in the real world.

His gaze was focused toward us on Earth with him, not on the heavens, or some imagined and ephemeral glory.

Jesus was not here to seek glory, or power, or dominion over mankind.

Jesus was selfless and meek; he gave everything away, including his life.

There is a kind of power in this, but it is not power in the sense of force or energy, or miltant might. Our word power, comes from the Latin potens, potare, meaning ability.

Jesus possessed power insofar as he possessed the ability to love.

Jesus was not a Gnostic, but the writers of John would make him out to be one.

He did not teach a secret doctrine.

He himself wrote nothing down.

Jesus taught by the word of his mouth, and more significantly through his actions.

He proclaimed justice and promoted love; through healing and sharing, and community work.

Jesus prayed, but he only gave us one prayer, in that prayer he prayed for bread to feed the people, he asked for mercy, and the strength to be merciful.

Know this

If or when the Church is finally able to emulate the life and teaching of Jesus, then and only then will Christ have risen within it.


First Reading – Acts 1:12-14 ©

The Apostles All Joined in Continuous Prayer

After Jesus was taken up into heaven the apostles went back from the Mount of Olives, as it is called, to Jerusalem, a short distance away, no more than a sabbath walk; and when they reached the city they went to the upper room where they were staying; there were Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Jude son of James. All these joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 26(27):1,4, 7-8 ©

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

Alleluia!

The Lord is my light and my help;
  whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
  before whom shall I shrink?

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

There is one thing I ask of the Lord,
  for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord,
  all the days of my life,
to savour the sweetness of the Lord,
  to behold his temple.

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

O Lord, hear my voice when I call;
  have mercy and answer.
Of you my heart has spoken:
  ‘Seek his face.’

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

Alleluia!


Second Reading – 1 Peter 4:13-16 ©

It is a Blessing for You When They Insult You for Bearing the Name of Christ

If you can have some share in the sufferings of Christ, be glad, because you will enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed. It is a blessing for you when they insult you for bearing the name of Christ, because it means that you have the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God resting on you. None of you should ever deserve to suffer for being a murderer, a thief, a criminal or an informer; but if anyone of you should suffer for being a Christian, then he is not to be ashamed of it; he should thank God that he has been called one.


Gospel Acclamation – John 14:18

Alleluia, alleluia!

I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord;
I will come back to you,
and your hearts will be full of joy.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to John 17:1-11 ©

Father, It is Time for You to Glorify Me

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you; and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him, let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.

And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me with that glory I had with you before ever the world was. I have made your name known to the men you took from the world to give me.

They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now at last they know that all you have given me comes indeed from you; for I have given them the teaching you gave to me, and they have truly accepted this, that I came from you, and have believed that it was you who sent me.

I pray for them; I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they belong to you: all I have is yours and all you have is mine, and in them I am glorified. I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.’


The Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year A) The Ascension

Sunday, May 17, 2020

A Homily - The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A)


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 65(66):1-7, 16, 20 ©
Second Reading – 1 Peter 3:15-18 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23
The Gospel According to John 14:15-21 ©

(NJB)

The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A)



Faith in God cannot be predicated on magic and miracles.

God, the creator of the universe, God did not make the world such a place that God’s children become the victims of demons; reject this ideation.

Jesus is not a lord, all people were created in the divine image, each of us bears a seed of the Word within us, we dwell in the spirit of God, without whom we would not exist.

It is boastful and dishonest to proclaim that God, the creator of the universe; that God has shown any one of God’s children, any family, any tribe, any nation…any favor over and above any other.

God does not intervene in human affairs on behalf of individuals, the creator of the universe does will not reach into the world to change the course of a person’s life. God does not break chains, or crush rebellions; we do.

Listen!

It is proper to give reverence to Jesus, yes; listen to the apostle when he asks for this, more importantly, listen to Jesus.

Give reverence to everyone. Treat everyone with courtesy and respect, walk humbly, love justice and seek mercy all the days of your life; this is the way.

Do not concern yourself with slander, not if you are living the good life, do not concern yourself with slander if you are a blessing to your family and friends and neighbors, do not concern yourself with any gossip, not if you show love to a stranger.

Know this:

Jesus did not die for the guilty and the sinful. His death was a political murder, he gave his life so that his friends and family, his followers would be spared from persecution.

Be Mindful.

The grace of God is not transactional. Love fosters love, but there is always love and God is always with you.

God, the creator of the universe, God abandons no-one. God will leave no orphans, no-one will be left behind or stranded in the world.

Not one of us shall be lost; this is the gospel.

God’s spirit dwells in all people, it permeates the whole creation, God is not, not present in any space, be mindful of this at all times.

All people dwell within God, without whom not one person, thing or being would exist; this is our faith, keep it!

God is with us!

Be mindful of this at all times, the Church is not the gatekeeper or the mediator, granting access to the presence of God, our salvation is not transactional, it happens simply because God wills it, and God wills it because God loves us.

God loves each and everyone one of us.


First Reading – Acts 8:5-8, 14-17 ©

They Laid Hands on Them, and They Received the Holy Spirit

Philip went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, and they went down there, and prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet he had not come down on any of them: they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 65(66):1-7, 16, 20 ©

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Alleluia!

Cry out with joy to God all the earth,
  O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise.
  Say to God: ‘How tremendous your deeds!

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

‘Before you all the earth shall bow;
  shall sing to you, sing to your name!’
Come and see the works of God,
  tremendous his deeds among men.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

He turned the sea into dry land,
  they passed through the river dry-shod.
Let our joy then be in him;
  he rules for ever by his might.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Come and hear, all who fear God.
  I will tell what he did for my soul:
Blessed be God who did not reject my prayer
  nor withhold his love from me.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Alleluia!



In the Body He Was Put to Death, in the Spirit He Was Raised to Life

Reverence the Lord Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.

Why, Christ himself, innocent though he was, had died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life.


Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23

Alleluia, alleluia!

Jesus said: ‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him.’

Alleluia!



I Shall Ask the Father and He Will Give you Another Advocate

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If you love me you will keep my commandments. I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever, that Spirit of truth whom the world can never receive since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you.

I will not leave you orphans; I will come back to you. In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see me, because I live and you will live.

On that day you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me; and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and show myself to him.’


The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

Sunday, May 10, 2020

A Homily - The Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

First Reading – Acts 6:1-7 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 32(33):1-2, 4-5, 18-19 ©

Second Reading – 1 Peter 2:4-9 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 14:6

The Gospel According to John 14:1 - 12 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

 

 

Take these lessons from the readings on the function of the Church, the purpose it is meant to serve, and the challenges to the members and leaders that crop up along the way.

 

Remember hat Jesus taught and keep it always in the forefront of your mind, the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

 

Let the distribution of food be done by the leaders of the community who are members of the community, let it be done by those charged with the care of their neighbors, by those who look out for their interest and are appointed by the community itself due to the trust and faith the community has in them.

 

Let the leaders of the Church, those women and men on the world stage, those who may be visiting local communities, let them concern themselves with prayer and the more ceremonial functions of worship when they are the guests of smaller churches.

 

Good government requires local control, even though it is balanced by direction from the top.

 

A general commands the overall strategy of a campaign, but the commanders in the field execute the tactics that lead to victorious engagements.

 

Be mindful of this, today’s reading provides a record of problem solving in the early church, but prior to the resolution of conflict it tells us the story of a divided community.

 

Christians have never fully gotten over these divisions, and because we are human beings we will always have them.

 

Consider the words of the psalmist:

 

The psalmist is correct; it is fitting to praise God.

 

It is wise to trust in the counsel of God, to have faith in God’s mercy; though do not expect God to rescue you from danger, and do not believe that God loves any one of God’s children more than another, or that God prefers you over your sister and brother.

 

God knows all things and understands all things; you have heard this said.

 

God’s knowledge is not an abstract knowledge of the particular details of individual events, God understands our person, our choices, our lives; God understands us even as we understand ourselves, only with a clarity and objectivity that we could never possess for ourselves.

 

Trust in God’s plan for you and for creation, but do not wait for salvation. Salvation is already yours, go out and share the good news.

 

Let me tell you again, Jesus was not a Lord and Christians are not priests. The only sacrifice that God ever wanted, both before and after Jesus’ time on earth, were sacrifices of love and mercy, sacrifice of compassion and justice; yes these are spiritual sacrifices, but Jesus did not “make them acceptable,” God did, and God desires that we perform these sacrifices without end.

 

Perform rituals of love and caring, make these your sacrifices; offer them in the real world, away from the temple and the altar, make them outside of the church.

 

Make your sacrifices such that they have a real and beneficial impact in the lives actual people, make them happen in the real world, not in some pageant where men and women play dress up and pretend to have magic powers, doing only what is easy and convenient.

 

If Jesus was the key stone, as the letter from peter says, if he was the corner stone of the Church, I tell you this, he did not lay his life down to set an example so that any person would stumble and fall. God did not bring people into being simply for the sake of casting them down.

 

God loves everyone, and the same fate awaits us all.

 

Consider the Gospel for today.

 

The Gospels are replete with stories that depict the ignorance of Jesus’ twelve male disciples. They were human beings and like all of us they were flawed, confused, and ignorant. Jesus goes so far as to refer to Saint Peter as “Satan,” the enemy, and on the night of Jesus’ arrest Peter denied having known him.

 

In the generations that followed the death of Jesus, the early Christians did not gain any more clarity, as John’s Gospel show us in the readings for the today.

 

Jesus is not “The Way,” though he demonstrates the way through the quality of his life. He showed us the “way of God,” which is to love, furnish hope and engender trust.

 

The good news is not that God has prepared a place for you, for the Jewish people that were the brothers and sisters of Jesus, or for the Christians who came later, but that God has prepared a place for everyone.

 

No one is left apart from God’s plan.

 

Following the way of Jesus does not require you to believe or know anything about him, it asks you to do all in your power to live a life of kindness and loving service to your fellow human beings. The way demands no more of you than you are able to do, knowing that you will fail, time and time again.

 

The good news is this: even in your failure you will be accepted and forgiven.

 

 

First Reading – Acts 6:1-7 ©

 

They Elected Seven Men Full of the Holy Spirit

 

About this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenists made a complaint against the Hebrews: in the daily distribution their own widows were being overlooked. So the Twelve called a full meeting of the disciples and addressed them, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food; you, brothers, must select from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom; we will hand over this duty to them, and continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the word.’ The whole assembly approved of this proposal and elected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

 

The word of the Lord continued to spread: the number of disciples in Jerusalem was greatly increased, and a large group of priests made their submission to the faith.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 32(33):1-2, 4-5, 18-19 ©

 

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

 

 

Alleluia!

 

Ring out your joy to the Lord, O you just;

  for praise is fitting for loyal hearts.

Give thanks to the Lord upon the harp,

  with a ten-stringed lute sing him songs.

 

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

 

For the word of the Lord is faithful

  and all his works to be trusted.

The Lord loves justice and right

  and fills the earth with his love.

 

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

 

The Lord looks on those who revere him,

  on those who hope in his love,

to rescue their souls from death,

  to keep them alive in famine.

 

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Second Reading – 1 Peter 2:4-9 ©

 

Christ is the Living Stone, Chosen by God and Precious to Him

 

The Lord is the living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him; set yourselves close to him so that you too, the holy priesthood that offers the spiritual sacrifices which Jesus Christ has made acceptable to God, may be living stones making a spiritual house. As scripture says: See how I lay in Zion a precious cornerstone that I have chosen and the man who rests his trust on it will not be disappointed. That means that for you who are believers, it is precious; but for unbelievers, the stone rejected by the builders has proved to be the keystone, a stone to stumble over, a rock to bring men down. They stumble over it because they do not believe in the word; it was the fate in store for them.

 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – John 14:6

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Jesus said: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

No one can come to the Father except through me.’

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to John 14:1-12 ©

 

I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life

 

Jesus said to his disciples:

 

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too. You know the way to the place where I am going.’

 

Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’

Jesus said:

 

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you know me, you know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.’

Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’

 

‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him ‘and you still do not know me?

 

‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father, so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?

 

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.

 

You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.

 

I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, he will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.’

 

 

The Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A)