Friday, June 21, 2024

Homilies

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.
/ Categories: Homilies

Farewell Discourses

Homily for Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Easter

Both the reading from the Acts of the Apostles and the passage from the Gospel of St. John which are proclaimed in today’s liturgy, are part of what is often referred to as “farewell discourses.”

St. Paul gathers the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus and reveals that the Holy Spirit has revealed to him that he will be called upon to suffer and die just as the Lord Jesus suffered and died. He tells them that he had been commissioned by Jesus himself to preach the Gospel as he made his way around Asia Minor. In the course of his missionary journeys, he has formed communities in many cities of the Middle East which have grown and matured under the care of those that he left behind to guide them.

The focus of St. John’s Gospel also changes at this point. For the past two weeks we have heard Jesus instructing the apostles about the future and assuring them that they will be guided by the Holy Spirit which will be sent to them after his departure. For the first time in the Gospels, Jesus acknowledges that his hour has come. He offers a beautiful prayer to the Father. First Jesus asks that his actions be glorified, giving honor and dignity to the Father. He prays that God will be made known to the world. Then he turns his thoughts to his disciples. He tells God that he has shared all that he knew from the Father with them and they have believed. He goes on to say that now that he will no longer be in the world, he intercedes for his disciples. Knowing that his hour has come, even in his time of trial and suffering, Jesus prays for his followers and ask that God will fill them with joy. However, his words are not simply for the apostles, they are also for everyone who would come to know him through his disciples and their disciples after them.

Among the many witnesses that have preached the message of Jesus, we celebrate many saints who, down through ages, have preached the Gospel either in words or in the example of their lives. This week alone we remember St. Rita of Cascia, Pope St. Gregory VII, St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi and St. Philip Neri.

May the intercession of the saints help us in our own efforts to make God known to the world, and may the graces we receive in this sacrament keep us ever close to the God who made us and loves us.

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