HOMILY FOR THE BACCALAUREATE MASS FOR THE ALICE DEANERY 24 MAY 17

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HOMILY FOR THE BACCALAUREATE

MASS FOR THE ALICE DEANERY

24 MAY 17

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Lectionary: 293

Reading 1

ACTS 17:15, 22—18:1

After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens,

they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy

to join him as soon as possible.

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:

“You Athenians, I see that in every respect

you are very religious.

For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,

I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’

What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.

The God who made the world and all that is in it,

the Lord of heaven and earth,

does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,

nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.

Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.

He made from one the whole human race

to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,

and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,

so that people might seek God,

even perhaps grope for him and find him,

though indeed he is not far from any one of us.

For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’

as even some of your poets have said,

‘For we too are his offspring.’

   Since therefore we are the offspring of God,

we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image

fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.

God has overlooked the times of ignorance,

but now he demands that all people everywhere repent

because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world

with justice’ through a man he has appointed,

and he has provided confirmation for all

by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about resurrection of the dead,

some began to scoff, but others said,

“We should like to hear you on this some other time.”

And so Paul left them.

But some did join him, and became believers.

Among them were Dionysius,

a member of the Court of the Areopagus,

a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.

Responsorial Psalm

PS 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Praise the LORD from the heavens;

praise him in the heights.

Praise him, all you his angels;

praise him, all you his hosts.

R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,

   the princes and all the judges of the earth,

Young men too, and maidens,

old men and boys.

R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Praise the name of the LORD,

for his name alone is exalted;

His majesty is above earth and heaven.

R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

or:

R. Alleluia.

He has lifted up the horn of his people;

Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,

from the children of Israel, the people close to him.

Alleluia.

R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Alleluia

JN 14:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

I will ask the Father

and he will give you another Advocate

to be with you always.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

JN 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:

“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.

But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,

he will guide you to all truth.

He will not speak on his own,

but he will speak what he hears,

(4)   and will declare to you the things that are coming.

He will glorify me,

because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.

Everything that the Father has is mine;

for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine

and declare it to you.”

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HOMILY

“Little children, love one another !”

Don’t be shocked.

I know that you are not children anymore.

I know that you who have completed your secondary education and are about to begin your lives as young adults.

I extend to you, the graduates 2017, my sincere congratulations, best wishes and prayerful blessing.

Actually, when I addressed you as “little children” a moment ago I was quoting another 93 year old bishop (actually, an Apostle) who lived over nineteen hundred years ago.

I am referring to Saint John the Evangelist,  was just read to us.

Saint John always opened and closed his preaching with those words:

“Little children, love one another!”

Saint Polycarp, who was Saint John’s disciple asked him one day:

“Why do you always begin and end your preaching by saying, ‘little children, love one another.’”

Saint John replied:

“Because in saying that  I sum up all of the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Saint John was the apostle especially loved by Jesus.  As they reclined at table at the Last Supper Jesus allowed John to rest his head on the chest of Jesus.

As Jesus hung dying on the cross only John remained there with Mary the Mother

of Jesus, all the other apostles had fled for fear of their lives.

So, I suggest that John knew what he was saying when he began and ended every talk with the command:
“Little childlren, love one another!

I am confident that what John had in mind was something that Jesus had said that Saint Matthew recorded in his Gospel:

 “Then Jesus said, “I tell all of you with certainty, unless you change and become like little children, you will never get into the kingdom from heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

You are probably not too happy to hear that.  Here you are on the threshold of becoming young adults, enjoying  emancipation from parental control and

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you hear that you must become like little children.  What did Jesus mean by that?

One thing is certain, he did not mean for us to be childish.  The words of Saint Paul make that clear:

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways.”    (1 Corinthians 13:11)

Jesus was referring to one of the principle characteristic of children:  openness.

Children a curious, they ask questions, they are filled with awe at something new and beautiful, something that delights the mind or the senses.

Another characteristic of children is trust.

One of the most difficult things every person must do at every stage of life is to

make decisions, to make choices.  From the earliest age children trust their parents to make decisions for them.  Gradually as one grows up parents allow their children to make more and more choices on their own.  You have probably already learned the hard way that sometimes making decisons, choosing, on one’s own can lead to painful consequences.

That is why Jesus tell you that he will not leave you as orphans, with no one you trust to turn to to help you make the difficult choices in life.  The person Jesus gives you to help you make difficult decisions, choices, when your parents are not longer available to you on a daily basis is

the HOLY SPIRIT.

The problem is that sometimes it is hard to hear the Holy Spirit when he whispers in

the ear of our conscience “do it” or “don’t do it.”  It is pretty hard to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit when your iPod is blasting away in the earbuds in your ears or the cell phone is glued to your ear.

All of this is to help you be free to love more perfectly.  A life without love is a life that is not worth living.  Saint Paul said it bluntly and perfectly:

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can understand all secrets and every form of knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains but have no love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 2)

In the light of all this you can see then that the biggest challenge you will face in your newly emancipated life will be choosing who and what to love.

There is no escaping it.  You must choose. and it is in your choices that you will prove that you have grown to become the mature Christian man and woman that Jesus Christ had in mind when he created you in your mother’s womb.

My little children, love one another!

Let us pray.

Almighty God,

Eternal Father,

Bless these graduates as they enter into this new phase of their life.

Grant that they may be responsive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all of their choices so that they grow in love with you and with those who share their lives.

This we ask through your Son,

Jesus Christ,

and the Holy Spirit,

One God,

for ever and ever.

Amen !!! 

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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One Response to HOMILY FOR THE BACCALAUREATE MASS FOR THE ALICE DEANERY 24 MAY 17

  1. 3names1God says:

    Beautiful…Thank you for helping me see saint John in a better way. Also the message of Jesus’call to love.

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