YEAR B: HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: TWO FAREWELL SPEECHES: ONE MESSAGE.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
“And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” John 17:11.
Both our First Reading and Gospel passage today are set in a tone of departure; Paul is leaving the region of Asia and he is giving a Farewell Speech to the people whom he had ministered to for quite some time. Jesus also is returning to the Father and he is giving a departure speech as well although his was within the context of a prayer.
Dear friends, there is nothing that has a beginning that will not have an end. Thinking about the end is always scary but there is great wisdom in preparing for it because there is nothing as painful as reaching the end all of a sudden and realizing you forgot to do the most essential things.
That we are reading farewell speeches should remind us once again of our own death and make us pause a while to ask ourselves again: “if today happens to be my last day, am I ready to leave?” A fulfilled life is not measured by the number of one’s days but the quality of those days.
As a minister, a father, a mentor, a teacher or whatever I am, can I say like St. Paul that I am innocent of the blood of my congregation, my children, my employees, or even my followers? Can I beat my chest to say I never led any one of these little ones astray? Can I beat my chest to say those who came close to me became better off than when they met me?
One simple test we can use to find out the quality of our life is to ask ourselves this question: “Am I ready to die today?” If this question scares you, then you need to seriously re-order your life. Stop existing and start living.
Take it that you have only a few months or weeks to be alive, love more, forgive more, laugh stronger, speak to everyone you meet as if that was the last thing you would ever say to them, create lasting memories, put a smile on everyone’s face, be kind and generous to people; get set to meet your God.
Paul was not afraid to die, he said: “you will see my face no more.” His conscience was very clean. How clean is my conscience?
In the case of Jesus, having defeated death, he wasn’t even worried about dying, he simply spoke of glory. Jesus could beat his chest saying: I have accomplished the work which you gave me to do, I have finished the race, I have manifested your name to the men you gave me…, it is now time for glory.
At the end of lives, there is only one destination for us: TO RETURN TO GOD FROM WHOM WE CAME. We are all going to meet God; we are all going to stand before God to give an account of what we did with the time he gave us on earth, we shall give a report of the work he placed in our hands, the souls he put under our care, the gifts and talents he graciously poured on us; we shall either stand before God happy or regretful. The good news is that now is the time for us to choose how that day would be.
The most important thing in life is not how much money we make, how big the car we drive is, how famous we become or how many powerful we are, the most important thing as Jesus Christ even mentions in today’s Gospel passage is ETERNAL LIFE. And what is eternal life? To know the only true God and Jesus Christ. John 17:3.
And what does it mean to know God? Recall how Mary declared to the Angel Gabriel that she didn’t know a man? It is one thing to gather facts about God but a different thing altogether to know God. To know God is much deeper than having a PhD in theology, to know God is to be in a personal (intimate) relationship with God.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, draw me nearer to you every day; teach to live my days as though everyone was my last. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of the 7th Week of Easter. Bible Study: Acts 20:17-27 and John 17:1-11).