May 10, 2020

A HOMILY FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER –  CYCLE “A” –  MAY 10TH, 2020  –  SMG

+   Pax et Bonum!    Peace and goodness to you this day!

There are many things and characteristics that Identify us as Catholic Christians.  For example, when you drive around a neighborhood, many times you can see a statue in the front yard or garden of Mary, or the Sacred Heart, or St. Francis of Assisi, and you think, “yep, they’re one of ours!”  Or maybe you see a car in a parking lot, and you notice a bulletin on the front seat of the car, or one the dashboard, and you think, “Yep, they’re Catholic.”  Or maybe it’s the license plate on the front of the car, or the bumper sticker on the back.  Or maybe it’s the people ordering fish sandwiches on Fridays during Lent, or those with Ashes on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday, or those who know how to work the Shepherd’s Gate Food Pantry.  There are any number of different ways that people can identify us as Catholic Christians.  The one, though, that has always been most important, is that we go to Mass together on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.  The Mass is what really unites us together and makes us Church, even makes us God’s people.  And that hasn’t that really been the hardest part of these last few weeks.  The live-streaming has been great.  In fact, a friend told me this past week that she can see and hear better on Facebook Live than she can hear in church.  She said, she feels like she is sitting in the front row.  I told her, well you can keep that same feeling when Masses resume in a couple weeks, all she has to do is sit in the front row.  But it’s been a challenge.  The Mass is that important to our identity as Catholics.

In our second reading today, from First Peter, St. Peter gives us one of the most beautiful, inspiring, and challenging definitions of what it means to part of the Church.  St. Peter writes, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”  This is St. Peter telling us the very way that our Lord views us.  That definition has got to make us feel pretty special.  “A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”  Makes you kinda want to puff your chest up a bit and stand a little taller.  St. Peter goes on to say that Christians rejoice, most especially during the Easter season, like right now, that the Risen Christ has called us out of darkness into His own wonderful light.  We are Church, then, when we follow Jesus Christ, exercising our royal priesthood as a community, and when we together share the Faith with others and invite them to become one with us, in the chosen race.  This is very much something we do together.  In fact, St. Peter would tell us that we can’t do it alone.  We are living stones being built together into a “spiritual house”.

This is what the Acts of the Apostles has been telling us about in our first readings these last few weeks.  The Church worked together to do the will of God and to take care of one another.  Everybody did their part, but not everybody had the same part, or role to play.  But everybody was needed.  Everyone was a “livng stone.”   The old and the young.  The rich and the poor.   Men and Women.  Mothers and Fathers.  Left handed and right handed people.  Those who could sing and even those who couldn’t sing!  Imagine that!  All of us!  No one was left out.  Every stone was needed.  Every stone had its purpose.  God brought them together for the building up of His Kingdom.  They weren’t all alike.  But they worked together!  And they became a beautiful house of the Lord, a true Church!  Much much more than a building.  A family.

In the Gospel today, Jesus tells us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that His way leads to Eternal life.  This Church stuff, this following Jesus authentically in the Catholic tradition, just like the early Church did, is exactly how we get home to Heaven, and how we take as many people with us, as we possibly can.  Jesus has shown us the Father, and He has taught us the way to get home to the Father.  Let our hearts NOT be trouble then.  May we have true Faith, in good times and in tough times.  Jesus has prepared a place for each one of us in His Heavenly Kingdom.   Let us act like that then.

What has happened to the Faith of the Catholic Church?  What happened to that “Do not let your hearts be troubled” thing?   Isn’t that really supposed to be the identifying characteristic and thing that makes us Catholic Christians?   We’re so afraid.  We’re afraid of getting sick.  We’re so afraid of not having a lifestyle that we think that we must have.  We’re so afraid of murder hornets.  Did you read about those this past week?  Like we needed another reason NOT to leave the house!   We’re afraid of running out of toilet paper!  Come on, Church!  Let’s have some real Faith and trust in the Lord.  Let’s stop letting our hearts be troubled.   And let us work together to stay on the right track to get to Heaven.  Because in the end, that’s all that really matters.

+   May God bless each one of us,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                       AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…            Pray for us !!!