- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

May 14, 2017

Fr. John Denberger, OCSO [1]

5th Sunday of Easter
Acts 6: 1 – 7; Ps 33; 1 Peter 2: 4 – 9; John 14: 1 – 12

St. Peter’s words to us are beautiful, lofty, sacred, ennobling and the truth proclaimed comes from the very heart of God. The Spirit of God speaks through Peter to each one of us and proclaims our Baptismal relationship with, in and through our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. The sacred reality, the truth, about us is presented for our hearing and for our living. Let us hear them again: “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His own so that you may announce the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

These sacred words pose some questions for our personal reflection: Do I see my life, my personal, unique life, in these terms? And even beyond this: Do I want to see my life as St. Peter saw it, as the Holy Spirit inspired him to write? – that you/I are of a chosen race, of a royal priesthood, blessed to be His own, called to proclaim God’s love, called from any darkness into the Lord’s marvelous light?

Whatever is the answer to those questions, the words of St. Peter spell out what it means to be a believer, a Christian and a Catholic and therefore define our lives, whatever our vocation.

At the beginning of this Mass we were blessed with Holy Water as a reminder of our Baptism – of that most significant moment of our adoption into the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity – we live as God’s sons and daughters – we live as intimates of God – in a word, as His lovers. To see Baptism in any other way is to miss its meaning and be somewhat or even totally ignorant of its mystery, its grace, the privilege it confers on us.

In the Gospel we find both Thomas and Philip questioning Jesus; they needed His help to hear and understand His words clearly and to believe fully. Jesus responded with love, with compassion and I add, with passionate desire so that they would be His intimates and He could be their intimate Lord and God.  Jesus has that same love and compassion and ardent desire for each one of us.

We know this but knowing this merely as information, as a teaching of the Church is never enough; we need conviction, belief, transformation that touches, penetrates our depths – the reason we are here today at this Eucharist. Our life of faith is not a head trip, it is not a matter of intelligence; it is the matter of the heart, of what is most personal, most sacred to us – faith comes from our depths because it is in our depths that God dwells.

Here we pray as a community and individually holding to God our loved ones, especially today our mothers on Mothers’ Day and of course, our concerns, our fears and doubts. But prayer is also about opening our hearts to the mystery of God we celebrate and are privileged to receive. Prayer is about seeking the Holy Spirit to enlighten us to our baptismal dignity, to coming to value and appreciate it more and more so that each one of us lives as God’s chosen one – as our God desires us to live.

Our prayer might be: “Lord, convince me of my own unique baptismal dignity, convince me that I am truly yours in every aspect of my life, in whatever life brings.” We are aware through the news that there are many starving people in the world, in our own country in need of the basics of life but one can also starve spiritually – starve from truth, hope, peace and so live in darkness, often in quiet despair.

Jesus’ response to Thomas is, in reality, addressed to all the faithful, to us who in our depths hunger for God. Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” By our presence here today we show our desire to follow Jesus the Way, to be formed by Jesus the Truth and to receive in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus the Life – because you/I are His chosen ones.sings to our mothers, living and deceased.