Friday, June 21, 2024

Homilies

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.
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Asking for the Gift of Grace

Homily for Saturday of the Sixth Week in Easter

Today we are introduced to an important character in the Christian Scriptures, Apollos. We are told that he gave great assistance to those who had come to believe through grace.

This is such an interesting comment and an important component of discipleship. We learn through the Catechism of the Catholic Church that it is only through grace that we can come to faith, for faith is a gift, freely given. It is a generous outpouring of grace from God that requires no payment or worthiness on our part. We are justified and sanctified by this grace. We are also taught through that same catechism that it does demand our free response – a response to God’s invitation to love, to partake of the divine nature of eternal life. Our vocation is a matter of becoming God’s adopted children.

Jesus does not use the word “grace” in today’s Gospel passage. He tells us that “whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive so that your joy may be complete.” This invitation opens us up to the power of the Holy Spirit through which we participate in the life of Christ who reconciled us to the Father.

Obviously, there is nothing we can do in this life without God’s grace, and, as we have been taught, God’s desire is to give us all that we need. Asking demands humility – the humility to recognize that we cannot sanctify ourselves and that we need to approach the Lord when we need help. Sometimes we may bristle at Jesus’s words, “ask and you will receive,” for we cannot help but recall instances when we prayed fervently for something and it seemed like the prayer went unanswered. Though the prayer was answered, we are incapable of totally understanding God’s wisdom. All will become clear to each one of us in those respects.

God’s desire is to live with us for eternity in his heavenly kingdom. This was the motive for God’s creation. As we celebrate this Eucharist, let us ask for all that we need to fulfill that goal.

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