Homily – 5th Weekend of Easter

A day or two ago when I was lamenting to my sister-in-law, Jane, that I hadn’t yet written my homily and that time was short due to Mass being on Saturday this week; she said, “Make it short!” So Jane, this one’s for you!  The truth is; I always begin thinking about what I might write early in the week, but for one reason or another, this week, it just didn’t get done until yesterday!

As I suggested in the bulletin this week; hope might be a virtue for each of us to hold onto during the Easter Season and especially during the times that we currently find ourselves. We look to Church and State for leadership and find little in either place to be hopeful about.  That having been said; we do need to applaud the Minnesota bishops for their March 25, 2019 statement in support of “Driver’s Licenses for All,” already passed in our State House and slated to be taken up by our State Congress soon.

As you know, this would give the undocumented already living and working in our state more safety in driving as they would need to pass the same exam as we all do, which makes driving safer for all of us, plus it would allow them to get insurance, which again, protects us all.  In addition, it is the neighborly thing, and dare I say, Christian thing to do for those who harvest our crops and care for our animals that supply our state with dairy products and other produce—jobs that we basically don’t want to do.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read the joint letter from the Minnesota bishops; I have put it on our website and our Face Book page—please take the time to read it!  Now if these same bishops could be in touch with each of their parishes, calling attention to their joint stand and encouraging dialog with their people through real, individual leadership; this would be great!

After you read their letter, you might take the next step and email our senator, Jeremy Miller, asking him to get on board with this most needed measure and support the bill coming before him very soon.  At present, this is clearly a political issue for him and we need to raise the bar so that he can make this a human, perhaps even, a spiritual issue.

With regard to all that is happening in Washington, or lack, thereof, our best action might be to pray along with those early Gentile followers of Jesus brought into the fold by Paul and Barnabas, spoken of in the first reading from Acts today.  And the prayer I am talking about is that of a committed, consistent person, every day, in every way.  I have realized, with some of the wisdom of the years, that I cannot make anyone change except for myself, but I can ask the Spirit of Jesus who we are told is continually, “renewing the face of the earth” to open the minds and hearts, ears and souls of those in public and church service to re-commit themselves to that noble goal that got them involved in the first place for the good of themselves and for all of us!

Luke, in the reading from Acts today also challenges us to “right living,” “persevering in our faith,” no matter, “the trials that we must undergo,” ever believing that we can, and do make a difference.  None of us can do it all, but each of us can do our part, no matter how small that might be.  The virtue of hope helps us to do this!  We should pray for an increase of faith and hope every day.

Each of the Scripture readings for this Easter weekend has a nugget to hold onto—to hope and believe in.  Revelation tells us that our God will always be with us,  that we will live to see an end to death, mourning, crying and tears, because Jesus has, “made all things new!”

My friends, I have to hope and believe that these Scriptures are true or I couldn’t do what I do pastoring this parish, in the face of no visible support from my brother priests. My prayer and wish for each of you is that you would continue to believe and never lose hope that good always triumphs.  I am grateful to each of you for all the generosity that I see in you, week after week, year after year.  We all here are an experiment attempting to show what an inclusive, Vatican II church can look like, a church in the memory of Jesus of Nazareth.  Have we succeeded?  I don’t know, but probably the true measure of our success or not will lie in Jesus’ words to us in today’s gospel from John—“all will know that you are my disciples,” [if they see you truly loving one another].

So friends, if we can own up to any action in our lives and truly say, “I did it out of love for God and my sisters and brothers on the journey,” then, we have been a success. If all we can say is, “I followed the law,” that really doesn’t make the grade! Following Jesus is really about opening our minds, hearts and souls to the face of God, all around us, in every creature, in all of creation—that is what Easter and the Incarnation are really all about and if there is a reward at the end of all that, well, good, but not a reason to do it in the first place!  Amen? Amen!