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Our Lady of Victory / St. Malachy
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Caution: Putting a Sunday homily on the Website is tricky business. All the viewer has is a written text. A homily, on the other hand, is "an oral event". It may not have been said or heard the way it was written. In addition, a roughly ten-minute homily is part of a roughly one-hour worship event in which God and God's people communicate with each other by means of ritual, symbol, song, proclamation, prayer. Not everything in these homilies is original. As a homilist, I rely on and at times borrow from other homilists and writers who are not properly mentioned in this format. I am often indebted to them.

Father William Marrevee, s.c.j.

6 th Sunday Easter A

We are still in the Easter season; two more Sundays to go. It is all about the victory of life over death, of light over darkness, in the dead and risen Jesus. But if you follow the Scripture readings and prayers of this 50-day Easter season, you may notice a shift in concern.

Where does this enormous event of Jesus, the crucified one being raised from the dead, where does this go? Will this (the cross, the candle, the banners) become a cherished memory, something that we can store away in another two weeks to dig it up again next year, something seasonal?

What is evoked in the cross and the candle in our midst, in the banners up there, is meant to shape the quality of life, the way of life of those who profess to believe in Jesus crucified and risen. Otherwise his death and resurrection are nothing more than a waste.

How can we prevent the death and resurrection of Jesus from merely having occurred some 2000 years ago? This can only happen when what this is all about spills over, flows over into the lives of those who profess Jesus to have been raised from the dead; when we too pass over from death to life – not just in the future, but now day-to-day. We must move from believing that Jesus rose from the dead to believing in the risen Christ, in the now living Christ.

For that sort of move we need the Spirit. Hence, the shift… to what that red banner with the flames of fire evokes. The dead and risen Jesus spilling over, flowing over into us, shaping our life: that is what the sending of the Spirit seeks to accomplish. The death and resurrection of Jesus taking possession of us, taking hold of us, shaping our lives is captured in the outpouring of the Spirit, setting us on fire.

And then what? What will this Spirit of the risen Jesus enable us to do? No less than the works of Jesus. Having the Spirit of Jesus energize us enables us to continue the works of Jesus.

The works of Jesus? Two “examples”:

  1. John in his first letter: “We are well aware that we have passed over from death to life, because we love our brothers and sisters (which is more than being nice to each other).

  2. When Jesus began his mission, there is that beautiful text of Isaiah that Jesus says is coming to fulfillment in him:
“ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind
to let the oppressed go free.”
When the risen Jesus appears among his dejected, frightened disciples he breathes the Spirit on them, saying “As the Father has sent me, so do I send you.”
Translated into today’s realities it may be along the following lines:
  • to make sure that people in developing countries have access to clear water. (Development and Peace work not to be limited to a Sunday in the fall and one in Lent).
  • To promote fair trade policies.
  • To provide housing for the homeless.

Is that too worldly? But does all this not have to do with protecting and enhancing the human dignity of all human beings?

Our openness to the Spirit of the risen Jesus, our letting ourselves be empowered by that Spirit is the only way to make sure that the death and resurrection of Jesus is not a colossal waste.

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