Bottom line: We are on a great pilgrimage - a journey that begins with Easter. By his resurrection Jesus is the center of the both the universe and human history.
In my Flocknote yesterday I mentioned that Memorial Day is an opportunity to reflect on where we've come from and where we're going as a nation. That's important but much more important is where we come from and where we are going in relation to Jesus. The truth is we are on a journey and that journey begins with Easter.
Mel Gibson's movie - The Passion of the Christ - depicts this powerfully. After his horrific suffering, they lay Jesus in a dark tomb. Mysteriously the tomb becomes light. The shroud containing Jesus' body deflates like a balloon. A few feet from the empty shroud, a young man stands up. The camera focuses only on his upper leg, then the forearm moves into view. In the hand you see a hole about the size of nickel. The young man moves decisively. History has entered a new stage.
By his resurrection Jesus transcends time and space. Thus he can relate to you and me individually - with full attention - in prayer and sacraments.
Speaking of sacraments, it's worth a trip to Granite Falls to see the new church there. It has lovely stain windows representing the seven sacraments. They make the point that Jesus is present in the sacraments and in his word. You see something similar in the stain glass above our sanctuary. The sacraments join us to Jesus in a material, physical manner.
For us Jesus stands at the center of the universe and the center of human history. We can acknowledge a Big Bang at the beginning. In fact, the Big Bang theory fits with what Genesis says about Day 1, "Let there be light and there was light" - an incredible energy that the stars and galaxies evolved from.
God creates light because he wants to send his Son Jesus - the Light of the World. So we can acknowledge the Big Bang and the gradual unfolding of evolution. For us the center and goal is the one who says today, "If you loved me you would rejoice that I am going to the Father". Jesus comes to bring us into an intimate union with the Father - as we will see, by the Holy Spirit. For that reason Jesus stands at the very center.
This Easter season I have been inviting you to embrace a two-step program: to believe Jesus and to touch his Body, to connect with Jesus spiritually and materially. Jesus program involves faith and action. As he says, "Whoever loves me will keep my word." Love involves trust, faith. Keeping his word means to follow him in a concrete way by receiving the sacraments, especially Communion.
Sacrament aid us on our pilgrimage - a great journey. Our journey as American Catholics is represented by the two flags - one for country, the other for our Church. We belong to a unique country with its own sins and its own greatness. In spite of all our problems we continue to be the most desirable country.
I am grateful to belong to this nation. A lot of people have sacrificed to make possible the freedom, the abundance and the opportunities we have. But much greater than belonging to this country is belong to Jesus' Church. For sure we have a lot to repent and to heal, but it makes me sad people leave the Church. It is, after all, where have the sacraments, especially Communion. The sacraments connect us physically with Jesus - the center of the cosmos and of human history. Can you think of a greater reason to rejoice? If you loved me, Jesus says, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father. Amen.
Audio Homily: Sixth Sunday of Easter Year C 2016
From Archives (Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru