Deacon Tom's Homily for May 17th


Did you know that Jesus prayed for us while he walked this earth? It’s in today’s Gospel reading, in the High Priestly Prayer. He is praying not only for his apostles, but also for those who will believe in him through their word. That is extraordinary language. But this is Jesus. Jesus is praying for every believer that ever was and ever will be. And because his love for us is infinite, I believe he was thinking of each one of us when he prayed those words.

Every day, Jesus is praying to the Father for you and me. He desires for us to learn how to listen better, to put aside the desire to be right or comfortable, and love sacrificially, even to the point of laying down our lives. This love is what pleases him so much, and what he wants the world to see in us.

Jesus goes on in today's passage to refer to his disciples as God’s gift to him. Try to imagine Christmas’ past. It’s Christmas Eve and you’re struggling to assemble a bicycle or toy. It takes time to fit the pieces together. But we spend the effort because we know it will be worth it when we see the look of delight on our child’s face on Christmas morning. So, our gospel today tells us we are gifts from the Father to Jesus. This means we are precious and valuable to him.

It also means that just as you are a gift to Jesus, so is every other person. We are all gifts individually and we are gifts as a group. It’s not a perfect analogy, but the body of Christ is like the bicycle the father is putting together. There are many parts but all one body[1], together forming a precious gift that God delights in giving to his Son.

Sometimes when we look at our parish, all we can see are unrelated parts spread out. How can we become united to form one people singing to the glory of God? It may seem impossible to us, but not to God. Jesus says today: “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one”. That means the union of the Church is of the same nature as that between the Father and the Son, and the union of the Church results from the union of individual members with the Father through the Son.

Like that Father on Christmas Eve, he won’t stop working until all the pieces fit together. God wants to bring Jesus joy by giving each of us as a gift of priceless value. But he also wants to bring Jesus joy by giving him the entire Church and all of humanity, united-as-one, united-in-love.

We don’t always have to agree with one another. But we must love one another. For the Mystical Body to live out its mission in the world, we must all come to embrace God’s plan for our individual lives so that we can be brought into unity by the fire of the Holy Spirit to serve with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

I read a recent projection by the United States Census Bureau that says that by the year 2030, the number of elderly will eclipse the number of children — for the first time in our nation’s history. There’s more to this looming scenario than the data indicate, however. There are the serious emotional aspects of aging that people in their so-called “golden years” will face — and it is far from glorious.

Think of the people today who are elderly, disabled, lonely and lost, starving for love and attention. They have no one to tell them that God loves them. Sue and Judy and others with Meals on Wheels will tell you that the people they deliver meals to need to hear the good news of God’s love. All peoples need to hear that Christ is present here and now for us in the unity we are called to live, in the Church. So today and every day, let’s show the love of God to others. This is our mission.

[1] 1 Corinthians 12:12