A HOMILY FOR THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – CYCLE “A” – 5/25/14 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you this day!
The December 2000 movie, Castaway, starring Tom Hanks, was a critical and commercial hit, even earning Hanks an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. If you’ve never seen the movie, the story follows Chuck Noland, a Fed-Ex manager, who survives an airplane crash in the Pacific Ocean, only to be washed up on the shore of a uninhabited island. He makes fire. He learns to fish. He drinks lots of coconut milk. It is all a very interesting story until he starts talking to that volleyball, that he calls “Wilson”. But then again, it could have been a very quiet movie with very little dialogue, if they didn’t give the main character someone to talk to. I think that one of the reasons why the movie was so popular, is that the whole notion of being a lone castaway, on a deserted island, plays right into one of our worst fears: being all alone and in trouble. It is bad enough to be in trouble. To have a flat tire on a dangerous road, to be held against our will, to have some sort of medical emergency, all of these are bad enough. But to go through any of these or any other bad situations all by yourself, is even worse! Castaway intrigued us. Chuck Noland spent over four years on that deserted island all by himself. That’s a lot of time to be all alone and on your own! After four years and everything that he had been through, maybe we would also start talking to a volleyball!
Being in a situation where you are all alone is intimidating. When you’re all alone, there’s nobody who’s coming to help. You can rely on anyone else. You just have yourself. Little issues that normally aren’t such a big deal, can become a great big huge deal when you’re all by yourself. In many ways and circumstances, being all alone can become one’s worst fear.
Jesus in our Gospel today seems to be very aware of this fear. Was He seeing this or hearing this from His Disciples? As Jesus begins to prepare them for His Ascension to Heaven, the First Christians receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. And they are promised that God will never abandoned them. God will not leave them orphans. This has got to be very much on their minds. Jesus had made it very clear that He wasn’t sticking around for good. The Apostles and all the disciples must have wondered what’s going to happen to us when He IS NOT here? How are we going to keep building the Kingdom of God? How are we going to keep growing and learning? How we going to protect the Church? How are we NOT going to feel all alone? Jesus sees all of their concerns, all of their worries, and their fear. He promises them the Gift the Holy Spirit that will remain with them always and Who will complete what He has begun in them.
You see, that the exact point of what God is desperately trying to teach us today: We are not alone! God wants us to be very clear about this today. That we have been abandoned by God is perhaps one of the devil’s greatest lies that he would love for all of us to believe. And in times of trial or tribulation, it is exactly where so many times we want to run to. But in our heart of hearts, we know from our own experience, that the devil’s lie is NOT true! God is with us! God is at work. And we are never truly alone.
This is important for us to know as individuals. It is equally as important for us to know as Church, even all these years after the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon God’s people. God has always been with His Church. In good time and in bad times, God has never abandoned us. There certainly have been times where we have abandoned Him, but He never leaves us!
Today we are asked to put our Faith and Trust in God’s faithful and constant care and presence. Nobody else in this world is promising us to always be there. The government, the media, big business, and sometimes even family and friends, can leave us in difficult times. God doesn’t do that, even in the most difficult of situations. Let us stick with Him then. Let us obey the commandments and love Him in return. God plan is being worked out even as we watch today! Let us have the confidence that we need to Trust! And to rely on the Holy Spirit!!!
+ May God bless us this day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!