If we had a greater awareness of the presence of the Spirit in the world, then we would be at war with those aspects of our society and our lives that reject God's presence.
News in Homilies
This Sunday's Gospel reading is familiar, but it seems to be missing some verses. We hear Jesus asking his disciple: "Who do people say I am.” We hear Peter's answer, "You are the Christ,” but then Jesus moves on to speak about how he would suffer greatly. We are missing something.
Listen and Proclaim the Good News. He put his fingers into the man's ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And the man's ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
We give attention to minutiae and turn our backs on the essentials. Unhappily for us, we are living our lives in an epoch which downplays sin. There is a danger, John Newman warned, of thinking God takes our sins lightly because we take them lightly.
"This is hard to take,” some of the disciples complained. "People are leaving you,” the disciples moaned. "The choice is yours,” Jesus responds. "Will you leave too?” And then Peter, like Joshua, makes a great profession of faith. "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
This week we come to the climax of John 6. But this is not the last Sunday that we have a reading from this chapter. Next week we'll consider the disciples suggestion that Jesus "tone down” his teaching. That's the conclusion. Today we have the climax. John 6 is about sustenance. It is about eating. It is about nourishment. It is about the Eucharist.
Elijah had had enough. He was out of food and water. More than that, he just didn't have the fortitude or the stamina to continue to do God's work. He laid down under that broom tree, and he said to God, "Look, I just can't do this anymore. I'm no better than anyone who has come before me. I just can't continue your mission to Israel."
What is the food that we are seeking? Certainly, all of us want to be happy. Sane people throughout the world have this as their goal. But most of our happiness is merely temporary pleasure. It is fleeting. Where can lasting happiness be found?
This Sunday we begin a five week focus on the 6th chapter of the Gospel of John. We do this every three years, just as we repeat all the Sunday readings every three years. That the Church should spend five weeks on John 6 demonstrates that this is one of the most important sections of the Gospels.
Jesus summons the Twelve and sends them out two by two. He gives them power over unclean spirits, and instructs them to take nothing for their journey but a walking stick. He warns them about rejection: people will not always welcome them or listen to them.
The second reading for today is written by a troubled man. The reading itself is troubling for us. In St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians, he writes about a thorn in the flesh that he suffered from. Three times he begged the Lord to remove this from Him. But all he heard was the Lord saying, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
Yes, the Lord liberates us from every fear and from all that enslaves us, so that we can be truly free. Today’s liturgical celebration expresses this truth well in the refrain of the Responsorial Psalm: “The Lord has freed me from all my fears”.
Peace in the Turmoil . The readings for this Sunday speak about turmoil. The first is from the Book of Job. Job questions God. Job had lost his livelihood. He had lost his children. He was in terrible physical pain.
When we receive communion we reaffirm our acceptance of the New Covenant with God. This is more than just saying, "I agree.” Communion is an intimate sharing of the presence of Christ conquering evil on the Cross.
The Dogma prof said, "Professor Thomas Aquinas, late of the University of Paris and the Albert Einstein of his day, didn't understand the Trinity. So, it is most unlikely that you blockheads will either. Just remember St Paul mentions the Trinity 30 times in his letters. Take it on faith and you'll muddle through somehow."
In the Acts of the Apostles, the apostles received the Holy Spirit in the symbols of fire and wind, and immediately left the safety of the Upper Room to proclaim the Good News. The apostles were doing exactly what Jesus did before He was put to death. They were risking their lives, losing their lives, for the Kingdom of God. They gave up their safe place, for the safety of the Kingdom.
Today we celebrate the Ascension. As we say in the Profession of Faith, Jesus "ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father." Before explaining what this means I will try to summarize what we have learned in the homilies since Easter.