A HOMILY FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – CYCLE “A” – 5/18/14 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you this day!
When you’re traveling, or on the road, one of the nicest gestures of hospitality is to be welcome to wherever you are going, or your destination. It is always nice to know that they are expecting you, that things have been prepared for your arrival and your visit, and that they are glad that you are going to be with them. Different people and different groups do this in a variety of ways. Maybe there is a personalized sign on the door of the room in which you staying. Maybe they have someone to greet you on your arrival and to show you where you will be staying. Maybe they leave you a little snack or treat in your room, just to show you that they are glad that you are joining them. The art of hospitality is alive and well in many places from Catholic retreat centers to nice hotels. A couple of months ago now, I was down in Ferdinand, Indiana, with this year’s RCIA class for their retreat. It was a great weekend! And I noticed that even the Sisters of St. Benedict there at Ferdinand have gotten caught up in this new hospitality rage. The Sisters left a cookie in everybody’s room, that was baked according to, now get this, an 11th Century recipe that is attributed to St. Hildegard of Bingen. The Sisters claimed that Saint Hildegard’s cookies had such healthy ingredients in them that they would actually make you younger if you ate them. Apparently the Sisters want you coming back to their retreat center for many years. Hospitality is good. It is even better when it helps you live longer.
Jesus has His Own words of hospitality for us today. He tells us NOT to worry or let our hearts be troubled. He is promising us that there are many rooms for all of us in Heaven. In fact, Jesus’ promise is that there is a room prepared just for us in Heaven. Now this is good news. They are waiting for us. There is a place prepared for us. Our name is on the door, and hopefully they have some really good cookies waiting for us. What Jesus is talking about this week, of course, is Heaven. We don’t talk near enough about Heaven. Isn’t it odd that as Christians, so much of the time we talk so much more about Hell, than what we do Heaven. And remember, Hell is where we DON’T want to go, and Heaven is where we DO want to go! Wouldn’t it seem more appropriate for us to talk more about Heaven? Heaven is going to be great! Heaven is better than the very best places that you have been on this earth. Heaven will be more comfortable, more peaceful, more beautiful than any other place that you can begin to imagine. In Heaven there will be no sickness, no death, no grief, no divorce, no arguments, no hatred, no political parties and no taxes! Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? There are probably very few places that we could say that we all want to go there, but Heaven is exactly the one place where we are all going to want to be. We were created for Heaven, not for this earth. We are NOT at home here. We are only passing through. Heaven is the most important thing.
The only thing more important than Heaven is being very, very clear about how we get there! There is only one way to Heaven. And we find the correct route in our Gospel today, in Jesus’ response to St. Thomas’ question. Jesus says “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” He is the only way to get to Heaven. We’ve got to be very clear about this. You don’t get to Heaven by being nice, or politically correct, or by re-cycling. You get to Heaven by following the Way of Jesus Christ. And that means that we need to obey the Commandments. And that means that we need to imitate His way of life and His love. And that means that we need to stay connected to Him every day in and through our prayers! How can we not talk every day to the one person who can get us home to Heaven? It is a whole lot more important to talk to Jesus every day, than it is to get the weather forecast for the next day. The weather is going to come and go tomorrow. But Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life forever! He is how we get to that extraordinary place that we know as Heaven! We need to follow Him home to Heaven every day.
I think, we need to be very careful about this. There are millions of people who deceive themselves every day into thinking that they are going to Heaven, but who really aren’t following Jesus. We can’t do whatever we want to do, and follow every way of living besides Jesus’ way, and then still expect that we are on the right track for Heaven. It doesn’t work like that. Heaven is not a free-for-all. We can all want and desire to go to Heaven, and we should, but if we’re not following Jesus, then we can’t be surprised to find out that we end up someplace else. That’s simply the truth that a lot of people don’t want to hear.
We put our trust and our hope in Heaven. Let us follow Jesus every day. May He truly be our Way always!
+ May God bless us this day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!