posted on May 05, 2013 21:20
Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
May 5, 2013 - 6th Sunday of Easter
10 AM Service
During the season of Easter we keep hearing the experience of that early church and it still lingers on. It's going to change next Sunday when we take this Gospel and realize that Jesus ascends to Heaven and to the Father. Then the next Sunday, on Pentecost, the Spirit comes into our lives. So we are in that waiting period and a lot of things go on.
It's like sitting in a doctor's office or the hospital when you are waiting for someone to come out of surgery. You are concerned. Instead of five minutes it seems like an hour. So you can imagine the feeling of the disciples and all the people. They were really struggling with the ideas about the circumcised and the uncircumcised, between the Jewish and between the Gentiles. Things were going on. They had a lot of questions, and yet Jesus said, “The only two things you need I will give you, and those two things are: peace, and the Paraclete.”
Let's think about the gift of peace. When you say, “peace” to each other this morning, what does that mean to you? When you say to someone, “I will pray for you,” what does that mean?
Jesus tells us, “The peace I am going to give you this morning, you will not find in the world. The only place you are going to find it is within yourself. You are going to know when you're home, and when you're home there is a certain feeling that everything is OK. I'm not afraid, I'm not troubled. I know that God is with me.”
It doesn't have to be anything extraordinary.
A few years ago I was visiting in Las Vegas and I asked the people at the hotel, “Is there a Catholic Church near here?” And they said, “Yes. You can't miss it. It's from here to there. Go down two blocks this way and two blocks that way and you'll be right at church.”
So I went down a couple of blocks and thought, “Is this the street where I should turn? Now which way do I go?”
So I started looking around. Then a couple of people came along and asked, “Can we help you?”
And I said, “I'm looking for the church.” My little brain cells said, “Well this must be the only church in the area.”
And they said, “We'll take you.” And we got to walking along and I thought, “Well, I sure don't see a church.”
We got to this hotel and we went down into the basement and there was a room there. They said, “Come on in here, we're right in here.” And I walked in and I looked around and asked, “Is this a Catholic Church?”
And they said, “Oh, no, no, no, no. This is the Pentecostal Church. If you want the Catholic Church you have to keep on walking.”
And so I did keep walking, and then finally saw this magnificent church. And when I walked in, I knew I was home.
It's a strange feeling when someone says to you, “It's right over there, you can't miss it.” And yet, you can't find your way and feel lost. That illustrates for us that sometimes you and I can become troubled and lost and afraid, and yet God will take us where we need to go.
How we find peace is the other “p” and that's the Paraclete. That's the Holy Spirit and that's going to come to all of us renewed in a couple of weeks. Obviously, it's with us now.
Jesus says, “If you have the spirit in you, you will understand the signs and the directions that I give you. Not everything in your life is going to be so simple. Everybody has moments when they doubt and when they are afraid.
But Jesus says, “All you have to do is come back home.” Then we know what real peace is. It means when I say “peace to you” I want God to give you everything that you need. Not everything that you want, just everything that you need. When we say “I will pray for you” we ask that the spirit of God will come down on whoever it is, and that the spirit will enter into their lives and bring their lives back to the God who loves them.
It's not just about words. It's about the experiences of life that you and I have. Most of them seem insignificant. But remember the rest of the story is, “Where I go, I want you to go with me.”
So when Jesus experiences the Ascension and goes back to the Father, you and I are not orphaned. When he sends that Spirit back to us, we have to listen with the voice of faith.
Today may you and I think of a time when we were lost and trying to find our way back to God, and what happened in that experience? Who came into our life and said, “Peace be with you?” Who came into our life and showed us the spirit of love?
Then we begin to realize there is something to the gift of faith. That's why we found our way here this morning. That's why we are going to find our way to the banquet table. That's why at the end of Mass we say to everyone, “Go in the peace of Christ, and live out the good news.”
If we have faith, God has many things planned for all of us during this coming week. May we be renewed in our faith. But most of all, may we not be afraid, may we not be troubled.
You and I have peace, and we have the Paraclete.
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.