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.
News in Homilies
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.
Jesus is real. People need Jesus. They need us to bring Jesus to them. We are Christians. We are Catholic. We are called to be witnesses to the Gospel. We are called to proclaim to the world the Good News: Jesus is real!
"Peace." Under normal circumstances, this simply means that one wishes another well. But it means far more than that when spoken by the risen Lord. The disciples feel that the world is out of control. Jesus assures them that such is not the case. In fact, he is there to offer them the gift of deep and unshakable confidence. In spite of dire appearances, all is well.
The flowers, the candles, the music, and all the Easter appointments are symbols of the Life worth Living. They are symbols that the world has been transformed by the Power of the Cross. The Power of the Cross has transformed the world, beginning with us and then reaching through us to all who are seeking meaning in life. Others need to experience our joy, our hope, our faith, our Lord.
A distressing Gallup Poll tells us that more than fifty percent of Catholics do not understand the teaching of the Church on the Eucharist. Furthermore, only one third of their number agree with the Church. But Mahatma Gandhi wrote, "In a world where millions go to bed hungry every night, the only form in which God would dare appear among human beings is food."
Scripture scholars insist that the details of Holy Week were the first to be written down by the Gospel writers. Early Christians were insistent that every detail of their Lord's passion and death should be preserved for us. This is the reason that today's Gospel is long and detailed.
Socrates was sitting on a park bench. A cop asked him, "Who are you?" He answered, "I wish to God I knew." Egypt's King Tutankhamen left us his golden furniture and jewels, but he is dead. The Nazarene left us no golden toys, but He lives. The answer to this riddle is locked in this Gospel.
Life is too difficult to handle alone. We need help. All of us. He doesn’t want us to be in grief. He wants to heal us with His Love. We have Him. We need to trust in Him. Through it all God will take control. When we are convinced that we can't handle things by ourselves and call upon God for help, we are at our strongest.
This story sheds important light on the character of Christ. He had a low boiling point. He did not hesitate to resort to physical violence at the sight of people being abused. This image is far different from the nerdy Jesus greeting card clerks sell us at three dollars each.
This is the good news of today's readings. It reminds us that faith is a lot like life. Faith has its mountains and its valleys. When we are standing on a mountain, it is easy to believe and to love God. But when we are standing in a valley, it is hard to believe and to love.
In the desert we can place ourselves in Godís hands relying trustfully upon him. When we are tested we remember those hidden Angels who are not so far away. When we experience these trials we unite ourselves with Christ and ask him to endure the Temptation with us.
There is more to life than the present difficulties. There is the spiritual “Yes” of Jesus Christ. Recently I heard a commentator mention the obvious, as they usually do. She said that the present economic condition in our country should lead people to re-consider their perception of their self-worth.
This Sunday's gospel tells us of Jesus' cure of a man afflicted with leprosy. A leper comes to Jesus and begs to be cured. Moved with compassion, Jesus touches the "untouchable" and cures him. He then sends him to a priest so that he can be reinstated into the community.
In the Gospel for today he heals Simon's mother-in-law of a fever. He heals people with all sorts of illnesses including possession which refers both to diabolic possession and psychological, or psychiatric illnesses.