Homily for May 21, 2017
It is an honor and a privilege to share with you this morning some thoughts on what I consider to be among the most beautiful versus in the entire Bible. I would like first of all, to honor the advice given in the first reading by St. Peter, I am ready to give you an explanation for our hope but with gentleness.
Our hope, you see, is in Jesus the Christ. We are, if you will, inundated with the presence of Christ. He is among us and in us. He is as Julian of Norwich tells us closer to us than we are to our very selves. This is done through the presence of the Holy Spirit who is the spirit of Jesus and we know him because he remains with us and is in us.
I think the most beautiful verse in the entire Bible is found in this morning’s gospel, “I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you. If you love me and keep my commandments
I will ask the father and he will give you another advocate to be with you always. The spirit of truth.” When Jesus rose from the dead and returned to his father, as symbolized by the Ascension ,he returned again to us in the presence of the Holy Spirit as symbolized by the tongues of fire and the sound of a mighty wind at Pentecost. It would be childish and naïve of us to assume that this presence and experience of the risen Jesus through his Holy Spirit was something that occurred only to the apostles or only to the early church or only through the sounds of wind and the heat and brightness of fire.
Whether we realize it or not, each one of us came here this morning in response to a call from the same Holy Spirit, a call that issued forth from our hearts, because he dwells with us and is in us ,to express that reality in a community formed in love by the very same Holy Spirit. “Where two or three are gathered in my name there am I in the midst of them.”
Let’s admit it and rejoice and be glad because we are here that we might have life and have it in abundance. We do speak with great truth and reverence of the real presence of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine but let us also realize with great truth and reverence the presence of the real Christ in the people next to you, in front of you, behind you and beside you. The presence of the real Christ in the bread and wine is given to us for the sake of his presence in one another, to express that presence, to honor that presence and to nourish that presence.
Remember that Jesus said he would ask the father to give us the Holy Spirit if we loved him and kept his commandments. We can love Jesus and keep his commandments only by loving others. There are no other commandments, or at the very least all of the Commandments are subject to these, love God, love yourself, and love one another.
So this is why we are here. To share in his joy, to, if you will, wash one another’s feet, support and comfort one another: to provide companionship for the lonely, health care for the sick, food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, justice for the disenfranchised, and security for the refugee.
We are here this morning to affirm the presence of Christ in our world, our community, our family and ourselves when we leave here. If Christ is to be present in our world, we must bring him there or rather we must by our actions acknowledge his presence . only in this way will all know that we are his disciples, that we have love for one another. This is the way in which the risen Christ will be present in our midst and in which we shall move forward each one of us into the fullness of Christ.