YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: WE ARE CHALLENGED TO PROCLAIM OUR FAITH IN OUR WORDS, IN OUR ACTIONS AND IN OUR THOUGHTS.
BY: Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
Jesus was born for us, suffered for us, died for us, was raised from the dead for us. Now Jesus returns to the Father to show us the way. All that Jesus does, is done for us. Jesus comes into the world to save us and draw us to Himself and to lead us to the Father.
The first reading today, from the Acts of the Apostles, gives an account of the Ascension of the Lord. The last words of Jesus to His followers in this account are these: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” It is clear that the Holy Spirit, although poured out already, has not been poured out on all. This power of the Holy Spirit will change the whole shape of the Church, the shape of the community of those who follow the Lord. Most specifically, the Holy Spirit will give power to the believers to give public witness to Jesus Christ.
The second reading today is from the Letter to the Ephesians and meditates on what it means to ascend and to descend. We can ponder these words from this portion of the Letter to the Ephesians: ”One body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
It is clear that we are all called to be one, one in the Spirit, one because of our baptism, one because there is only one God and Father of us all. What a wonderful way of calling all of us to unity in the Church!
And in today’s Gospel from Saint Mark, we have again the challenge to proclaim our faith. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” We can proclaim the Gospel because we have been given the Spirit by Jesus Christ. As we prepare to celebrate the great solemnity of Pentecost, we begin with the challenge of the Ascension: Jesus goes up to heaven. Jesus is now at the right hand of God. Jesus will send us the Spirit in a special way on Pentecost. As people who believe, we are challenged to proclaim our faith in our words, in our actions and in our thoughts.
Jesus does not call only those who have some kind of position in the Church. No! Jesus calls each one of us to be faithful and to proclaim our faith in Him. Our Church is the assembly of believers. Yes, we have leadership! Yes, the leadership has authority! That authority is to continue to challenge each of us to live our faith and to proclaim our faith to everyone.
Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB Christ in the Desert Monastery, Abiquiu, New Mexico