Below you will find audio from Mass and other events that have been held at Incarnation. Subscribe to our podcast feed if you would like to automatically receive updates when new audio files are posted.
Homily - Sixth Sunday of Easter ()Dea Chris Morash,
Part of the Homily series, preached at a Sunday Early Morning Mass service
I’m sure many of you here have seen that movie "Home Alone" where a family goes off on vacation....oblivious to the absence of one of their children. Left behind with only his ingenuity, the young boy fends off a pair of bungling burglars. There are a few touching moments in this film....but basically it consists of a series of humorous defeats that the young boy inflicts on a couple of inept intruders. Because we are confident the story will have a happy ending....the movie probably doesn’t raise for the viewer the serious question: How would we cope....if we were left alone? ??My friends: the setting of today’s gospel is the night before Jesus’ own suffering and death…at the Last Supper. Jesus tells his disciples that he will be leaving them....that he’s going away, but only to prepare a place for when they follow. In a sense, they will be left alone. The disciples can’t imagine what it will be like without Jesus in their lives. Although he promises to send them the Holy Spirit, they will have to fend for themselves....and the enemy or enemies they will face won’t be bunglers. So where.…would they find the strength and direction they needed when Jesus is gone? ??Well.…the passage today from the Acts of the Apostles, answers this question. It provides us with a sketch, if you will, of the early Christian community. Here we see that Jesus had been faithful to his promise: that the Holy Spirit was indeed present and active in the life of the church. The disciples hadn’t been left alone. They were part of the church, along with Paul, Barnabas, the Gentile converts, the apostles, the elders and the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem.
?Brothers and sisters: If we look at the church today from a human perspective, we see imperfect men and women who, left to our own ingenuity....are often bunglers. But….we haven’t been left alone…because the power of the Holy Spirit has transformed us into that holy city of the new Jerusalem....envisioned in our second reading from Revelation. That city isn’t only magnificent in the splendor of God....it’s also fortified against intruders. ?
My friends: When we face difficulties and even disagreements within the Church, we mustn’t forget that Jesus sends us his Spirit to be our "Advocate" and teacher. Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit to help us to understand the words he has spoken to us.
As the late Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, put it, an advocate is one who cheers, who encourages, who persuades, who urges us forward, who calls us on, crying into our ears as to our heart: "This way to do God's will; this way to save your soul: Come on….come on!"
Brothers and sisters: Jesus assured the disciples on the night before he died that his bodily presence would be replaced by something far more wonderful. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to help give God's peace to us. Jesus assured the disciples the kind of peace he speaks of can’t be compared to the kind of peace found in the world. What the world means by peace is often simply the absence of war. It’s a state of being left alone; like what the harassed mother wants from her active children or what the worker wants from the public….he has to deal with for too long. Or perhaps it’s deep sleep, which is what the world understands when it writes "Rest in Peace" on its tombstones. ? ?My friends: The peace Jesus gives can’t be compromised by earthly events. It’s a peace that reaches down into the very heart of humanity and provides the disciples….and us with the strength to bear up against anything the world can throw at us.
The peace that is of Christ isn’t just the absence of violence or conflict….but a deep sense of love, justice, truth and mercy. This peace is shalom....that right relationship that flows from our loving union with God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Gospel peace isn’t passive but calls for an active response from us: to work to break through the barriers which divide us, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who hurt us. In word, in sacrament, in community....in our living of the gospel in our everyday lives, the Easter Christ is in our midst. In even our smallest act of kindness ---- prompted by the Spirit instructing our open hearts and spirit ---- we reveal the presence of the risen Jesus in our own little piece of the world.
As Jesus prepared to return to the Father, he was at peace knowing he had accomplished the mission for which he was sent. Jesus teaches us that peace comes from both being faithful and in letting go. It’s about recognizing God’s presence in and around us, made possible by the gift of the Holy Spirit. "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him." When we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit, we discover peace. When we make good choices, we experience peace. ??These Sundays before the feast of Pentecost are so important for our daily Christian living: they remind us that as followers of Jesus we never have to feel that the whole task of living and proclaiming the gospel falls on our shoulders alone. God is always present, dwelling within us, to give us the strength we need to be faithful to Jesus’ commands. ??Brothers and sisters: I think Jesus offers the disciples and us great solace and hope in this week’s gospel. While he tells them of his impending departure, he assures them that he will come back, so their hearts should not be burdened with fear. ?
Jesus left to the disciples his peace and….it's the first word he spoke to his apostles after he rose from the dead. Peace. It sustained that early community in first century Jerusalem. And it will sustain us, too. ? ?My dear friends: The miracle of the resurrection goes on. In the community of love, which is the true image of the church….no one will ever be alone.
|« Mens Breakfast - Faith Conversion through Tragedy
|Homily - Ascension of the Lord »