Building Church of Love

(Homily for Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C)

Message: God is at work: In our prayer and in our leaders - building the Church of Love.

For the past three weeks the homilies have focused on our parish priorities: Lift up Jesus. Love one another. Make disciples. These priorities will guide us in the coming years. We have seen how they connect with the work of the Archdiocese that we support through the Annual Catholic Appeal. We want to build a "church of love."

The readings today indicate the importance of our leaders in building a Church of Love. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to his Apostles: "The Father," he says will send the Holy Spirit to "teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you."

Before saying how this applies specifically to Church leaders, let's look at the personal application. Prayer is the work of the Holy Spirit. Even if you feel distracted, for example at Mass, do not despair. The Holy Spirit does the real work. Woody Allen said that eighty percent of success is showing up. That applies to prayer. When we show up with a right intention, Jesus by the power of the Spirit lifts us to the Father.

Beyond this personal dimension the Holy Spirit works through the Apostles and their successors. The bishops in union with the pope keep us together in sound teaching and they help us apply that teaching to the complex world we live in.

In every Mass we pray for Pope Francis and our bishop - Archbishop Sartain - not so much because they are good guys, but because they embody apostolic authority. We see in the first reading that early on the Apostles faced some thorny issues. They met, prayed and made a decision. It wasn't their decision alone. Rather they say - and I quote - "it is the decision of the Holy Spirit and us."

God is doing something in the world, but what? What is God doing? Making a world where we all live to be a hundred and have no stress and satisfy every impulse? Not even close - something much better: He's forming the holy city, the new Jerusalem - on its walls inscribed "the twelve names of the the twelve apostles of the Lamb."

God is at work forming his Church. As we heard a few weeks ago, beautiful like a bride prepared for her groom. We sometimes think of heaven as "spiritual" somewhere up in the clouds, vague and far away. The Bible on the other hand describes the future as concrete and physical: a city, a wedding banquet, the intimate union of bride and groom. As disciples we will form part of that church in a physical manner: "I believe in the resurrection of the body."

At present you and I may feel weak, discouraged, beaten down. Don't throw in the towel. God is at work: In our prayer and in our leaders. Through Jesus he has send his Holy Spirit to build the Church of love.

This Sunday I would like us to hear about one way God is at work. In the bulletin you see that along with the three long-range priorities we have specific goals in the areas of Unity, Youth and Spirituality. We have received good help from the Archdiocese in area of Youth. To explain more and how this ties with the Annual Catholic Appeal, I would like call forward ______________________


Spanish Version

From Archives (Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C):

2013: Why He Came
2010: That the World May Believe (Seventh Sunday readings, but can be used on Sixth Sunday - if Ascension celebrated on Seventh Sunday of Easter)
2007: The Father Will Love Him
2004: An Intimate Conversation
2001: Praying for Timothy McVeigh
1998: I Am Going Away

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

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Fr. Brad's Homilies

Fr. Jim's Homilies

Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")

Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)

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(April 2016)

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