The Father Will Love Him

(Homily for Sixth Sunday of Easter - Year C)

Bottom line: By the Holy Spirit, Jesus makes possible a filial relationship with the Father.

I begin by wishing the moms here a Happy Mother's Day. I am offering this Mass for our moms, whether they are present with us or far away, whether they are living of deceased. Today is a beautiful day to remember our moms and to pray for them.

Today's readings present the possibility of a filial relationship with God. Filial refers to intimacy and trust that can exist between parent and child. A story from Peru illustrates filial trust in God:

It happened that a missionary priest was visiting his extensive parish, high in the Andes Mountains. The best way to reach certain parts of the parish was by horseback. Once, toward sunset, the priest got disoriented and could not find the way back to his base camp. Rather than risk exposure at such an altitude, he decided to give his horse free rein and hope to find shelter. After a couple of hours of wandering, he saw a welcome sight. In the distance a lamp burned in a hut. This was unusual because the native people went to bed shortly after dark in order to get up at an early hour. When the priest got near the hut, a man ran out, "Padre, padrecito," he exclaimed, "I knew you would come."

Surprised, the priest asked how he knew that. The man said, "My mother has been praying all day that a priest would come. She is dying." The priest went inside, heard the woman's confession, then gave her holy anointing and Communion. The woman softly spoke these final words, "Taita Dios heard me." Taita Dios is not easy to translate. Dios of course means God, but Taita is hard to translate. It is an intimate, affectionate way of addressing one's father. Taita is like "daddy," except that a grown-up man could say it with no embarrassment. Taita Dios, my dear Father, has heard me.

In today's Gospel, Jesus tells us that if someone keeps Jesus' word, "the Father will love him." He then describes an intimacy, impossible for us to imagine. He tells us that he and the Father will dwell within us - by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This intimacy has a high price. You know that one of the most painful things in this life is the physical separation from someone we love. Some of us have experienced that in relation to our mom - or some other much loved person. Jesus tells us today the reason for separation - so that we might have an even more intimate union. The disciples were devastated by the death of Jesus, but then came the great miracle of the Resurrection.

Now, Jesus explains that he must once again go from their sight. He does it for a reason: so that he can send the Advocate. That word means the one who stands up for us, like an attorney or a lawyer. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit to make possible an intimate union with the Trinity - the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Like that faith-filled indigenous woman we can say, Taita Dios, my dear Father, has heard me.

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Spanish Version

From Archives:

2013: Why He Came
2010 Homily: 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

Mother's Day Homilies:

2009: Because We Keep His Commandments
2008: Double Gift
2007: The Father Will Love Him (Homily for Sixth Sunday of Easter - Year C)
2006: Dependence and Freedom
2005: There the Action Lies
2004: Necessary to Undergo Many Hardships
1998: Honoring Mothers and Defending Children

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Bulletin (Prayers for Gloria Strauss & Emma Cora Lamb, Annual Appeal Results, Dictatorship of Relativism in Washington State)

Top 100 Pro-Catholic Movies

Archbishop Brunett on The Dictatorship of Relativism (how the Washington State Pharmacy Board has violated the individual right to conscience)

Pastor Appreciation Day

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