We launched Project Advance, our annual archdiocesan (and parish) fundraising campaign on Sunday, so my homily was very brief--we showed this video before Mass, which cut into the time for a homily! Since it is a such a short reflection (Saturday's First Holy Communion homily is below), I thought I might belatedly post the homily from a couple of weeks back. Technical glitches kept me from doing so then. So the homily for the Third Sunday of Easter is out of sequence.
Sometimes being a Christian seems like hard work. Do this, don’t do that. And whatever you do, make sure to use your envelopes!
Today’s readings give us a very different picture. Certainly there was hard work involved, but the early Church grew “in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” Don’t you just love that phrase?
And the Gospel offers an equally consoling word. Abide in me, Jesus says. Stay with me and I’ll stay with you. At our First Communion celebration yesterday, I used the words that the future Pope Benedict prayed at his own First Communion: “I always want to stay with you,” he told the Lord, “but most of all, you stay with me.”
Jesus answers that prayer for all of us in today’s Gospel. He says, “Of course. Stay with me and I’ll stay with you. Always.”
But what does it mean to stay with Jesus? St. John puts it simply: “Love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”
As disciples of Jesus, we love Jesus and we follow his command to love others. The Church is not what’s sometimes called a “talking shop.” It is a place of concrete commitments.
To deepen our love for Jesus, we spend time with him in prayer each day. We read the Scriptures; we celebrate the sacraments and so on.
Our prayer life, and our personal relationship with the Lord, moves us to act. We boldly tell others about Jesus, as St. Paul did and as many of you are doing by inviting friends and family to the Alpha course. We love one another, as St. John says in the second reading, and this unites with others and with God.
God’s word today calls us to live our Christian lives in truth and action.
Certainly your support for Project Advance is important and valuable: it is love in action, here in the parish and throughout the whole Archdiocese
But all the good we do must be rooted in the true vine of which we are the branches. We have to get to know Jesus to stay connected to him and to really make a difference. To bear good and lasting fruit, we must be people of prayer – offering God the first fruits of our time.