Following of Jesus Christ is serious business. It is not a matter of just being a member of a faith. It is not just a matter of observing various rules and regulations. It is not just a matter of knowing the beliefs of the faith. Christ is calling us to more than this. He is calling us to be completely sold on His Kingdom.
News in Homilies
The story is told of a four year old saying her night prayers. She asked God to take care of mommy, daddy, and her cat. Then she asked, "And now, God, what can I do for you?" A question still hotly debated is how do we take care of the poor.
Many Catholics lose sight of the forest because of the trees. 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.
Eating Well. One of the things that I, and I am sure you, love watching children do is eat. For a child, particularly a young child, eating is a total body experience. For example, the young child doesn’t just taste ice scream, he smells it, and feels it and wears it.
After God saved them by parting the Red Sea, they murmured that there would not be enough food for them to eat in the desert. After God gave them manna, they murmured that the food was boring and wanted better grub.
The Archbishop said that, just as David 'wasn't much good at fighting in overgrown suits of armour but was quite good with stones and slings', we all have to look inside ourselves and learn what gifts God has given us - gifts that will help 'when life is tough and the challenges and crises are fresh and difficult'.
The food that God gives demands a total commitment to Him. It is called the Bread of Life. We often, rightly so focus on the “bread” part as we discuss the Eucharist. It is the “life” part I want to consider today.
The author of John’s gospel calls the miracles of Jesus as “signs”. Precisely because these are signs of the kingdom… concrete and present. The place and timeframe of John’s good news is “here and now”: I have come that you may have life, and live it to the full. Thus feeding miracles are best to portray this proposal of Jesus.
Good Shepherd: God’s image as compassionate, merciful, forgiving, generous, just, liberator. In every moment the human is caught with enormous difficulty, there is God not only present to rescue him or her but also giving him or her freedom to decide what is best. God’s love is always respectful to human choices.
In today’s Gospel we hear about Jesus sending out his Apostles to preach the Good News. He gives them instructions on how to go about this task. Curiously he doesn’t tell them what to say but gives them authority over unclean spirits and tells them what not to take. They are not to go well provisioned or with a lot of gear because this will mean that they arrive in a place with an attitude of humility about them.
A Prophet among Them. Many people in our society would rather that Christ stayed in the tomb then have to listen to His confronting them with the Truth. All this leaves us with two questions: First, do I have the humility to handle the truth? And second: do I have the courage to proclaim the truth?
Who wants to be Doubting Thomas, anyway? Yet the saint reminds us that doubt\ is integral to the human condition and is therefore an aspect of the spiritual journey we will have to engage. He was an apostle chosen by Jesus – one of his most intimate companions. So he was very much a committed believer who made an extraordinary journey.
Women are not getting from us the welcome, support and recognition or understanding that Jesus always gave them. We don’t even see them with the same eyes with which Jesus saw them. And the fact remains that it is these women, with their faith and perseverance that are keeping most of our Christian communities alive.
Today we leave the rotation of the Sundays of the Year for a celebration of the Calendar Feast Day: the celebration of the Birth of John the Baptist. This feast is put near the first day of summer, because, in the Northern Hemisphere, the days will now begin to grow shorter. John the Baptist proclaimed that he must decrease and the Lord must increase.
In John 14:18, Jesus promised He would not leave us orphans. He has kept His word. He has left Himself to us in the Eucharist. Today we salute His thoughtful generosity on this seven hundred year old feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
The last words of Jesus command us to make the life of the Trinity real to others. We are then told that we will not do this alone. Even though He is ascending to the Father, He is still with us, always, until the end of the world.
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.
Today’s 2nd reading from the First Letter of John, and the Gospel from John 15 both speak about love, Christian love. Christian love is not forced on a person. It isn’t due to an elixir, nor does it come merely from physical attraction, or any other attraction for that matter. Love, true love, lasting love, only results from the Love of Christ.
God is with us, yes. But to have a relationship with God, we need to be with Him too. When we do this, when we are united to the vine, then we can do the work of the Christian. We can draw others to Him. We can bear fruit.