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Sunday Homily (Full Text)

Sunday Homily

27

Gospel                                 John 14:1-12

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.

You have faith in God; have faith also in me.

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.

If there were not,

would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you,

I will come back again and take you to myself,

so that where I am you also may be.

Where I am going you know the way.”

Thomas said to him,

“Master, we do not know where you are going;

how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.

If you know me, then you will also know my Father.

From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him,

“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time

and you still do not know me, Philip?

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.

The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.

Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,

or else, believe because of the works themselves.

Amen, amen, I say to you,

whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,

and will do greater ones than these,

because I am going to the Father.”

 

Homily

It is good to be home.  It is always a pleasure and joy for me to come back here.  I wish I could stay here forever, but I have business to take care of.  So, I want to say a big thank you to Father, and to all of you who came all of the way to Springfield, the contingent who represented all of the parish community, to support us last Saturday.  We are grateful.

We are thankful for your prayers and support.  But it is not over yet. Right?  Until I am sitting where Father Mike is sitting it is not over until it is over.  So, keep on praying for us.  If not, anything can happen.

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, is there any division among you?  Is there any division among you in your family, in your workplace, in your community, in your homes?  What are the causes?  What is the cause of your division?

 

In the first reading we hear about the first community of believers having trouble because of daily necessities.  And the apostles said they could not neglect the word of God for the distribution of daily necessities.

 

Father Mike cannot do it all by himself.  And I am a witness as to what you do here in this parish in the ministries you have to take care of one another.  The funeral committee where you give up your time and talent to help others.  When someone is sick you visit them in the hospital.  Some of you dedicate yourself to taking communion to others, and sit with that person and talk with him or her.  When someone is in grief, you come together to support that person.  That is what we are supposed to do.

 

That is not the spirit of division. 

 

Dear brother and sister, how can we help others to come into the church?  We are the cornerstone and each of us gives our contribution.  By our love and support of one another we build the body of Christ. 

 

In last week’s reading we had the Good Shepherd — Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd leads the way so we are nourished, and is the way and the truth and the life.  And Jesus knows the way to the Father.

 

When I started to drive here, I didn’t know my way.  I had to use a G.P.S. Jesus is our G.P.S. in our lives.  He is the G.P.S. is our spiritual difficulties.  He is the G.P.S. in our financial difficulties.  He is the G.P.S. when we are sick.  He is the G.P.S. when there is confusion in our life. 

 

JESUS, THE G.P.S.  “How can we know the way?” John 14:5  In recent years, the GPS, that is, the Global Positioning System, has become extremely popular.  The GPS device knows your exact location on earth.  You type into the GPS where you want to go.  Then the GPS talks to you in a voice that tells you each street to turn on, and exactly where to drive.  People trust the voice on the GPS.  Each of us has problems in this life, and we want to know “the way” out of these problems.  We’d like a GPS to show us “the way” to get from debt to financial freedom, from addiction to freedom, from discord to unity, and so forth.  We want directions for the way out.  We ask: “How can we know the way” out of our situation (Jn 14:5).  We want a roadmap, but God has a better plan. He gives us directions in the form of a Person: Jesus, the Way (Jn 14:6).  Jesus always knows our exact physical location on earth.

 

Moreover, He knows exactly where we are spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.  Finally, His plan for us is the perfect will of God!  Our ultimate destination in this life is to spend eternity with God in heaven.  How often do you allow any troubles to rob you of God’s gift of peace?  As much as we try to avoid it, we inevitably encounter challenges and trials that can shake our confidence and our trust in God.  Jesus knew that his disciples would be put to the test when their Master was taken from them during his suffering and passion — his arrest, trial, and rejection by the leaders of his own people — and his crucifixion by the Romans.  Jesus encouraged his disciples to put their faith and hope in God the Father and also in himself.  When adversity or trouble comes your way, does it make you lose hope or give into fear and despair, or does it press you closer to the Lord Jesus and to the strength and help He offers you?

 

When the people of Israel became discouraged and grew weary during their 40 years in the wilderness, the Lord assured them that he would personally bring them safely into the Promised Land.  “It is the LORD who goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).  This land of promise was a sign that prefigured and pointed to the true heavenly homeland that God offers to all who accept his gift of salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus, through his victory on the cross and his resurrection, has opened the way for each one of us to live in peace and friendship with our heavenly Father.  During Jesus’ last supper meal with his apostles, he spoke in plain words to them about his approaching departure.  He tells them that he is returning to his Father to prepare a place for them in the Father’s house.

 

Jesus not only goes to secure for his disciples a place of refuge, peace, and security, he secures for them the best the Father has to offer — intimate communion, friendship, and joy with the Father at his table (Luke 12:37, Matthew 8:11) and place of rest and refreshment.  Jesus promised his disciples — and each one of us — that he would return again to personally bring us to the Father’s house.

 

“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). Is your hope securely placed in Jesus and his promise to raise you up in glory with him? I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  The disciples were surprised that Jesus was going to his Father’s house and would return to take them with him.  And they were even more surprised when Jesus said he expected them to know the way to the Father’s house.  Jesus’ answer to their question, “show us the way,” is both a reminder that we should trust the Lord to show us the way, and a challenge for us to recognize that Jesus had intimate knowledge of God and where God came from.  Jesus made a statement that invoked the very name that God had revealed to Moses, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14), and he made three claims that only God could make.  He stated unequivocally to his disciples: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Jesus proclaims: I am the Way. He alone knows the way to the Father because he has been with the Father from the beginning — before time and creation ever existed.

 

The Lord Jesus gives us more than a road map and a guidebook.  He personally is the way to the Father’s kingdom, and we cannot miss it if we follow him.  He accompanies us on our daily journey and watches over us as the Good Shepherd who leads and sustains us each and every step of the way.  Are you in step with the Lord and do you trust in his guiding hand for your life?  Jesus proclaims that he is the Truth.  Many can say, “I have taught you the truth.” Only Jesus can say, I am the Truth.  He possesses in himself the fullness of truth.  Jesus claims to be one with the Father and to speak the truth that proceeds from the Father.

 

The words that Jesus speaks are true because there is no lie or falsehood in him.  Moral truth requires more than mere words or ideas because the person who speaks them must be true — true in thought speech, deed, example, and action.  Jesus embodies the truth in his person.  He not only shows us the path of life (Psalm 16:11); he gives the kind of life that only God can give — abundant life that lasts forever.  Is there any trouble, fear, or distraction that keeps you from the perfect peace and joy of a life surrendered to Jesus Christ? Knowing God personally, one of the greatest truths of the Christian faith is that we can know the living God.  Our knowledge of God is not limited to simply knowing something about God; we can know God personally.

 

The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father.  Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father.  To see Jesus, the only begotten Son of the Father, is to see what God is like.  In Jesus we see the perfect love of God — a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross.

 

Jesus is the revelation of God — a God who loves us completely, unconditionally, and perfectly for our good.  Jesus also promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in his name.  That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, “Our Father who art in heaven … give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:9).

 

Jesus told his disciples that they would do the same works that he had done — and even greater works!   While Jesus was physically present to his disciples in Galilee and Jerusalem, he was subject to the physical limitations of time, space, and circumstances.  Now as the Risen Savior who is glorified and seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, the Lord Jesus makes his presence and power known to every place on earth through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit who lives and works through all the members of the Body of Christ on earth.

 

Theresa of Avila (1515-1582) wrote: Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world.  Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.  Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, and you are his body.  Christ has no body now on earth but yours.  Wherever we go the Lord Jesus wants us to bring the good news and blessings of his kingdom to as many people as we can.

 

“Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with the Father in Heaven.”

                                                            ***

Samuel Bagyo, Jr. was ordained a transitional deacon on Saturday, May 10, 2014, by Bishop Thomas Paprocki at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.  Samuel is a seminarian at Mundelein Seminary and was at Blessed Sacrament Parish for several months in 2013 for an internship.

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