May 17, 2020

A HOMILY FOR THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER –  CYCLE “A” –  5/17/20  –  SMG

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

I have a good buddy of mine, who has this Butler Bulldogs leather jacket, that he just loves.  He’s had it for a while, and he wears it all the time.  Now, you might think, that he went to college at Butler, that he is an alumnus.   And that is not true.   He actually went to school at Purdue.  So then, you might think that his wife went to school at Butler, or maybe his kids are at Butler.   And neither one of those things are true either.  So then, we all know that in the recent past, Butler has had a really good college basketball program.  In fact, the Butler basketball team has several times, in recent years, made it farther along in the NCAA tourney then any of the Indiana teams, making all of us, pretty proud of the Butler Bulldogs.  But that not why my friend likes and wears his Butler Bulldogs jacket.  He just likes the jacket!  He says it comfortable.  He likes the colors.  And there’s something about that nickname, the Bulldogs, that cracks my friend up!    So he wears the jacket all the time.    Even if the “why?” he wears the jacket, is a little confusing.  He’s not a real Butler Bulldogs fan.  But he likes to look like one.

Today in our Gospel, again taken from St. John’s account, Jesus Himself talks to us about how to be a “real” Christian, a real follower of our Savior.   And He says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  He doesn’t say, you’ll wear a Notre Dame jacket, or you’ll wear a cross around your neck, or you’ll wear one of those always stylish St. Maria Goretti Italian Festival T-Shirts.  You notice, that just like my friend and his Butler jacket, being a Christian, especially being a Catholic Christian, has a whole lot more to do with our actions, than it does with what we wear!  We are called to really live out the Christian life.  And the best place to start doing that is by living out the Ten Commandments.  Love God first.  Keep holy His name.  Keep the day of the Lord holy.  Honor your Father and Mother.  Don’t kill each other.  Don’t misuse your bodies.  Don’t lie, cheat, or steal.  Don’t be jealous of your neighbor’s things.  Don’t be jealous of your neighbor’s spouse.   In short, the Commandments call us to live a good and holy life!  Not to just talk about it.   Not to just pretend that we’re doing it.  Not to just look like we are Christians.  But we are called to actually become God’s holy people, and examples of His love and goodness.  Our Faith can never be something that we just put on, like a jacket.  It’s got to be who we are, and what we are about, on the inside, to our very core!  Is that what kind of Christian you are?  Or do you put your faith on and take it off, like a t-shirt, or like a jacket.

Our first reading today, from the Acts of the Apostles, gives us a great example of this.  Philip goes down to the city of Samaria, and he has great success in sharing the faith with the Samaritans.  He’s healing people, and expelling demons, and being a beautiful example of what it means to follow Jesus Christ, by being like Jesus Christ, and doing the same works that Jesus did, and it changed the Samaritan’s hearts.  He is not just proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah, Philip  is showing them Jesus.  He is living out the Christian life.  The Samaritans came to believe because they saw Jesus in Philip.  He was doing the same works that Jesus did, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  When we live out our faith, when we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, when our Christianity runs to very core of our lives, and we enthusiastically live it out, people will want to join us also.  Our faith is contagious.  All we have to do is really live it out!

And so, in 2020, we, the Church continues to be healing for the sick and freedom for those bound by the devil.  We continue to be a voice for the voiceless.  Peace for the grieving, the abandoned, and the persecuted.   Jesus’ ministry didn’t end with His death two thousand years ago.  That was just the beginning.  Then, the job, the ministry was given to the Church, to us, the Body of Christ, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, that ministry is unstoppable and truthfully, undeniable to all those who are open to the truth.  All we have to do, is live it out.  Live out the Commandments, live out our love, and live out what is right and true!

Living this life is challenging.  It always has been.  But it is especially challenging in 2020!  And that’s why we need the Holy Spirit.  Can you tell that Pentecost is just two weeks away?  Jesus did not abandon us to do this by ourselves.  He sends us the Holy Spirit, that makes everything possible.   That’s how the early Church did it, two thousand years ago, and that’s exactly how we’re going to do it today!

Wearing a Butler Bulldogs jacket does not necessarily make you a Butler Bulldogs fan.  And what we wear, and how we appear on the outside, does not make us a Catholic Christians.  It’s in our hearts.  It’s inside us, where we belong to Christ.  May we live that out, on the outside, that others may come to join us in the faith!

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

St. Maria Goretti…        Pray for us !!!