Friday, May 14, 2010


Lk.24:46- 53 Solemnity of Ascension.-10

Little Bobby was spending the weekend with his grandmother after a particularly trying week in kindergarten. His grandmother decided to take him to the park on Saturday morning. It had been snowing all night and everything was beautiful. His grandmother said, "Doesn't it look like an artist painted this scenery? Did you know God painted this just for you?"
Bobby said, "Yes, God did it and he did it left handed."
This confused his grandmother a bit. "What makes you say God did this with his left hand?"
"Well," said Bobby, "We learned at Sunday School last week that Jesus sits on God's right hand!"
Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, Jesus ascending to the right hand of the Father. Our first reading gives a clue to the meaning of this mystery. You will notice that St. Luke does not speak about Jesus "going away," but that "a cloud took him from their sight." There is a difference between "leaving" and "disappearing." When someone leaves, it suggests separation, even finality. When a person disappears from sight, he might still be very close - in another room, or even closer. The fact that the disciples no longer see Jesus does not mean that he has gone from them. He is more present, not less, in being ascended to the Father. He is fully present, participating in every moment of our lives.
Having done all that he came to do he now ascends to the Father. His great work is now handed on to his disciples to bring to completion. But this is no task that can be worked out in a few years. No, it is an undertaking that will take his followers till the very end of time to bring to its glorious conclusion.
A high point in a relay race is the moment when one runner passes the baton to another runner. More races are won or lost at that moment than at any other moment in the race. The passing of the baton in a relay race is a good image of the ascension. Jesus passes the baton to his disciples. He passes on to us the responsibility to make God's Kingdom a living reality in our home, our schools, and our world. To make sure that we don’t drop the baton Jesus assures the Holy Spirit, the Divine power to be with us.
The role we undertake as members of the Church is to spread the Good News throughout the earth and to live our lives in such a way that they give glory to God. Our ultimate goal is that all nations and people will come to worship the one true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent.

You might be wondering why God has chosen to entrust this great work to a group of weak and fallible human beings. Surely God could utter the command and all people would bow down and worship him, if that’s what he really wants. The only problem is that by issuing such a command people everywhere would be under the obligation to worship God. It wouldn’t be their spontaneous free choice; it would be done out of compulsion and not out of love. So God chooses us, inadequate and feeble creatures, to convey his message, his Good News, to the people of the world, so that they may love him and worship him.

It is important to understand that God does not want us to worship him because he needs it or because he would gain any advantage from it. It would not add one jot to his greatness nor would it inflate his ego in some strange way. God does not desire our worship and devotion because it will do him any good, but because it will do us good.

In our text Luke tells us that they worshipped him and went back to Jerusalem full of joy. That’s exactly how it ought to be for us each Sunday as we return home from the Eucharist, going back to our ordinary lives full of joy and trust in the Lord. Though the priest says: the mass is ended go in peace- the mass really does not end here. It only begins here. And we continue the celebration outside the Church. We give witness outside the church what we experienced inside the church. Our neighbours see us go to mass every Sunday morning. But its how they see us coming back that is our real witness to them.
What are the experiences Jesus wants us to share - to witness to others? It could be a lot of things, but today's Gospel gives us the starting point: "Repentance, for the forgiveness of sins." St.Francis said preach the gospel, use words if necessary. We need to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in our homes and neighborhood by our actions.
Pope Paul VI said, "The world needs witnesses more than it needs teachers." You know, it is relatively easy to be a teacher. Most people are eager to share their knowledge - and especially their opinions. It is much harder to be a witness: To tell others what one has experienced. That can be risky and demanding. Two people can live under the same roof and never share their deepest experiences.*

Let me tell you about a man who gave a powerful witness to repentance and forgiveness. He was a slave trader, with little religious feeling. Or to be more accurate, whatever religious sentiment he had, he numbed with alcohol. Once when he piloted a slave ship across the Atlantic, a violent storm broke out. Something caused him to cry, "Jesus, have mercy on us." When the storm subsided, he reflected on what happened - and he gave up the slave trade. The captain was John Newton. He wrote a song amazing grace.
We may not have had such a dramatic experience as John Newton. We haven't enslaved others for personal gain. We have not bought and sold other human beings, but at times we have not treated someone as a person, but as an object, an instrument of selfish desires. We have sinned, but - like John Newton - we can repent and beg forgiveness. We can open ourselves to the "amazing grace" that lets us make a fresh start. And like Newton, we can witness to what Jesus has done for us.
We need to be proclaimers and evangelizers: To be a Christian is to be a proclaimer and an evangelizer. There is a difference between preaching and proclaiming. We preach with words but we proclaim with our lives. Let us ask the Spirit of God to bear witness to Jesus by our transparent Christian lives.

Cardinal Newman one of the greatest intellectuals in Church history, recognized that souls are ultimately not won by arguments and programs, but by credible witnesses. The truth of the Gospel, he said, "has been upheld in the world not as a system, not by books, not by argument, nor by temporal power, but by the personal influence of such men…, who are at once the teachers and the patterns of it."
Jesus has ascended into heaven and he wants us to be his witnesses. Like the apostles, we start in Jerusalem, that is, right where we find ourselves. Although Jesus has disappeared from our sight, he did not leave us. And he tells us, "You will be my witnesses."
The ascended Jesus is still with us because of his promise, "I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.” He is with us at all times and in all places, releasing a new energy upon the earth, the energy of the Holy Spirit to preach his Good News of salvation by bearing witness to him. We need the help of Jesus’ abiding presence in us through his Holy Spirit to accomplish our mission. Next Sunday is the feast of Pentecost. Hence let us learn to be humble and let the Holy Spirit lead the way in our witness to the world.

Friday, May 7, 2010

VIth Sunday of Easter. ( MOther's day)

VI Easter Sunday Homily

Acts 15:1-2, 22-23,: Rev. 21: 10-14, 22-23,Gosple: John 14: 23-29

St. Francis of Assisi was an ardent advocate of the doctrine of the indwelling of God in man. It enabled him to love every one equally irrespective of his status in life. One day he met a fellow who had no love for God. As they walked along they met a man who was blind and paralyzed. St. Francis asked the sightless cripple: “Tell me if I were to restore your eyesight and the use of your limbs, would you love me?” “Ah,” replied the beggar, “I would not only love you but I would be your slave for the rest of my life.” “See,” said Francis to the man who maintained that he could not love God, “this man would love me if I gave him his sight and his health. Why don’t you love God who created you with eyesight and strong limbs?”
When Jesus speaks in today’s gospel of “those who love me” he is referring to his followers. For Jesus “those who love me” is another way of saying “my disciples” . The relationship between the Christian and Christ is essentially a love relationship. That is why Jesus said in John 15:15 “I do not call you servants any longer ... I call you friends.” Yet many of us feel more comfortable serving Jesus as boss rather than relating to him as a friend. There is a limit to what a boss can demand from you. There is no such limit when it comes to friendship and intimacy.
God abides in us .’ “If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him”. The word ‘abide’ is used repeatedly in the part of John's gospel several times. It is variously translated as ‘live’ and ‘remain’ and 'make your home'. It was a word much beloved of Meister Eckhart, the 14th-century German mystic. He wrote, “It is not right to love God for His heaven's sake nor for the sake of anything at all, but we should love Him for the goodness that He is in Himself. For whoever loves him for anything else does not abide in Him, but abides in the thing he is loving Him for. If, therefore, you want to abide in Him, you must love Him for nothing but Himself.”
Some saint said she would like to close down both heaven and hell, so that people would do good for its own sake, not because of greed or fear, and love God for God's own sake. That would be ‘abiding in God.’ Love brings near; fear separates, it makes you want to run away.
Meister Eckhart wrote, “You need not seek Him here or there, He is no further than the door of your heart; there He stands patiently awaiting whoever is ready to open up and let Him in. No need to call to Him from afar: He can hardly wait for you to open up. He longs for you a thousand times more than you long for Him.”
‘Abide’. It is a word you might use to describe what you are doing in contemplation: you are abiding, you are making your home in Christ, you are within his mind. You are in God and God is in you. You are in your true home.
Jesus puts a condition for this indwelling of the Holy Trinity, namely, that we have to show our love of God by keeping his word. And this keeping of his word will be facilitated by the Holy Spirit, God's Holy Breath. With the gift of the Holy Spirit, something brand new has happened in the history of humanity. No longer is God merely present in all things as Creator and Sustainer, in a generic way. Now, in every soul that is united to Christ by faith and grace, God is present as friend, guide, and personal companion. Every Christian soul is a Temple where God truly dwells .
This is the gift Christ has given us, the prize he won for us on Calvary: the transforming, renewing, life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit within us. Unfortunately, we often forget about this. We often live as if our Christianity were something outside of us, like a membership in a club. That forgetfulness handcuffs God's power in our lives. The Holy Spirit is polite. He respects our freedom. He chooses to be a guest, not a dictator. He sits in the living room of our souls, loving us, eagerly waiting for us to put away our cell phone, shut down our computer, and pay attention to him for few minutes, to listen to him, to ask him for guidance and strength. And whenever we do, he is able to increase what is good in us, and cleanse what is bad.

Jesus affirmed that even though he would no longer be with them physically, he would continue to be present among them through His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of truth would continue teaching them and helping them to understand and to build on what Jesus had already taught them. The Advocate would bring no new revelation because God had already revealed Himself in Jesus. But the Advocate would deepen their understanding of the revelation given by Jesus.
If that is so, what do we make of the situation in the world today where a thousand Christians all “filled with the Holy Spirit” come up with a thousand different answers to the same question? Does the Holy Spirit contradict Himself? Of course the Holy Spirit is with us individually, but the Holy Spirit is given primarily to the church and, through the church, to us as individuals when we become members of the church.
This is what we see in the 1st reading where disagreements among Christians are resolved through dialogue and community discernment and not through each one consulting the Holy Spirit privately. In the end they come out with a resolution which begins “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” (Acts 15:28). The word of Christ continues to live and resound in the word of the Holy Spirit speaking through the church. The days between the Ascension of Christ and Pentecost are special days of prayer for all Christians as they were for the first disciples of Jesus.
This year let us pray especially for the gift of church unity, so that together we all can discern what the Spirit is saying to the church in the modern world and so bear united witness to the life-giving word of Christ.

In the United States, the second Sunday of May is Mother’s Day. President Woodrow Wilson declared it a national Holiday in 1914 for public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of America. Mother’s Day honors the greatest Mother of all, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all mothers should look to her for guidance and strength.”
It is a beautiful Catholic custom to venerate the Blessed Virgin during the month of May, especially with such time-honored devotions as May crowning, Mary altars, and the praying of the Rosary.
In a special way, we consider Mother’s Day, while secular in nature and having no liturgical significance for our Church calendar is a day not only to honor all mothers, both living and deceased, but a day to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, Queen and Teacher in the Spiritual Life. We ask her to watch over all of our wonderful mothers who have given us life and love!
Mary teaches all mothers the dignity and the value of all human life. She teaches mothers to be generous, loving and compassionate to their children and to all they meet. Mary teaches mothers how to be models of deep faith and great courage as they face the joys and challenges of family life today. On this Mother’s Day we pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary will wrap her mantle around all mothers, and through her powerful intercession, strengthen them in their maternal role!