Below is my homily from this morning's Mass for the 4th Sunday Easter.
I hope you find it helpful in your own circumstances.
Comments, observations and perspective on my homily or on today's readings are most welcome! See the "Comment Box" below the homily.
Peace be with you all!!!
If you wish, the link for the readings is here: HERE
A 6th Sunday of Easter May 17, 2020
Sometimes book titles just make me envious of the creativity that can go into saying so much in so few words.
One of my all time favorites is a “A Confederacy of Dunces”
And no, it’s not at all about current events
It’s a crazy comedy novel about an eccentric, to say the least, 35 year old “launch fail son” bent on reforming the entire 20th Century
... who is thrust out into that world, in New Orleans of all places, with colorful and hilarious results.
Another great title I wish I had coined is “A Minor Apocalypse”, by the Polish author Tadeuscz Konwicki.
Not that this serious novel itself is at all relevant to what I have to say today...but the title is.
“Apocalypse” is commonly associated with the end of the world, final destruction
...but the word has old English roots in the idea of a “revealing” or “unveiling”.
That’s why the last book of the bible is referred to as the “The Book of Revelation” and sometimes “The Apocalypse of John”
...same book, same subject
...a mystical meditation, a revealing, an unveiling of the final destiny of all creation
..as a source of encouragement and hope for the Christian community.
This time of “The Virus”, seems to me to be “A Minor Apocalypse” for us
...a little revelation, a little unveiling
...but about our current realities and about our immediate future.
Discussion about just what is being revealed about our society is everywhere and from all viewpoints and perspectives.
But for us here and now it is fitting to ponder what The Virus and our experiences
...have revealed, or unveiled about our faith
...and our life as a worshipping community of faith right here in this parish.
Most immediately and tangibly we have experienced a sense of loss.
Most obviously Sunday mass itself is not here in the way it was.
We have lost the physical presence of togetherness in praying, singing, hearing the Word, receiving the Eucharist
...and the presence of the Lord that we could experience together in all of it
...which is the point after all.
And there is the community sacramental togetherness that we lost
...when 1st Communions, Confirmations, baptisms were postponed.
We have also lost that direct physical presence of wakes and funerals, social events, Bible study and prayer groups, religious education
...and social outreach to those in need including the homebound, whose ranks some of us have joined temporarily.
All of this on top of the loss we had all been experiencing some time, decades
...made most real to us in the closing and consolidation of parishes and schools in the Archdiocese over the past three years.
More of THAT was anticipated even before The Virus.
The point is not to gloomily dwell on all this
..but just to be realistic about where we are.
In fact it we should NOT dwell on it because THAT can hide from us, can veil
...important realities that have always been there
....and are with us still
...and are sources of help for us all
...realities that for many have become more obvious exactly because of what we are now experiencing.
Today’s readings speak to them directly.
Take the story of Philip and the Samaritans from the Acts of the Apostles.
Consider what Philip, the Apostles
...and these new Samaritan Christians DIDN’T have.
No churches or cathedrals. No parish halls or schools. No parish of chancery staff. No high schools or universities, websites or libraries, communications technology and all the rest.
None. Of. It.
They had their faith.
They had each other.
They had the love and care for each other that faith called for.
And they had the desire, even a sense of mission, to share it to bring healing and joy to others.
They also something else
...the very thing that the Lord himself offers in the words of today’s Gospel.
He tells us that for those who love him and live as he calls us
...He will be in us and we in Him
...never leaving us orphans.
It is in gratitude for ALL of THAT that we are even here this morning, such as we are!!
The Virus has not taken any of that away from us. It can’t.
On the contrary this Virus has revealed these realities even more deeply.
They are still there for us to build, and rebuild, our life together.
This virus thing will pass and there is likely to be a “new normal” on the other side of it
...new realities to adapt to.
Like the apostles before us we will move into it
...based on the faith that is still with us, for many even stronger than before.
...based on a deeper appreciation of the community, this Body Of Christ that we are all a part of
...based on a greater urgency to share all that with new friends eager for the healing and joy that it can bring.
And ultimately based on the reality of Christ dwelling in us and with us all.
These are what has sustained us for centuries, from the beginning of it all.
These are what will get us through what is before us now.
We’ve come through harder things than this over the centuries
...and we will do so again.