YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER (1)


YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER (1)

HOMILY THEME:  “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’” (John 14:23)

BY: Fr. Robert deLeon, CSC

 

HOMILY: John 14:23-29

In the mid-1980s, when the Christian, where our feet are is less important than where our hearts are. The road to heaven is not a maze, a labyrinth or a yellow brick road; rather, the road to heaven is mostly about how we travel. Are we making our life journey focused only on our own feet, watching that we do not trip over a stone or fall into a hole? Or are we making our life journey with only one eye on the perils to our own safety while we focus the other eye on the travelers passing us on the roadway? Do we help the frail woman who fell on the path just ahead of us, or are we too consumed by our own fears of doing the same even to notice her? In the gospel passage we hear today, “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’” (John 14:23) It’s as if a spiritual GPS has been factory-install ed in our hearts, ever ready to guide us along the best route heavenward. There will be stumbling along the way and what seem to be wrong turns and even dead ends—but trust the heart’s deepest instinct. It knows the way. He, Jesus, knows the way. I served as a chaplain at St. Joseph Medical Center in South Bend, Indiana, ongoing structural renovations found visitors confused as they entered the hospital’s main lobby and found before them an array of signs boasting a potpourri of medical services with arrows pointing every which-way. Responding to complaints, the hospital administration, seeking to provide a more user- friendly atmosphere, removed the arrows, and each medical service area was then color-coded, thin strips of colored floor tile leading the seeker toward the desired location, much like the yellow brick road of Oz. The obvious question soon arose: what were the color blind to do? But even before that question could be addressed, though, another completely unforeseen problem came into focus. With myriads of people, eyes focused downward, following two inch-wide colored lines on the corridor floor, there were head-on collisions, yellow-line cardiology patients careening off blue- line dialysis patients, green-line gastroenterology patients soothing head lumps left by the white- line radiology crowd. The colored-line solution only worked when travelers kept one eye on where their feet were and the other eye on the yet unseen but longed-for destination somewhere ahead.

Our own journeys through life are surely less predictable than the orange line on the hospital floor leading to some distant clinic. In the journeys of real life there seem to be so many neck-wrenching twists and hair-pin turns, so many loops back over paths already taken. Unlike the colored pathways on the floor, though, there is no surety that following a single life path will lead us to where we’d hoped to end up. An ancient Chinese proverb warns of this possibility: “If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.” For the Christian, though, the journey through life can be viewed in an entirely different light. After all, God made the first journey to be with us, to be like us. He’s already trodden every human path. It’s not so much a matter of us traveling to God; rather, it’s a matter of us standing still long enough to realize that God is as near or as far as we want God to be! “It is the same distance to heaven from all places,” said St. Thomas More.

For the Christian, where our feet are is less important than where our hearts are. The road to heaven is not a maze, a labyrinth or a yellow brick road; rather, the road to heaven is mostly about how we travel. Are we making our life journey focused only on our own feet, watching that we do not trip over a stone or fall into a hole? Or are we making our life journey with only one eye on the perils to our own safety while we focus the other eye on the travelers passing us on the roadway? Do we help the frail woman who fell on the path just ahead of us, or are we too consumed by our own fears of doing the same even to notice her?

In the gospel passage we hear today, “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’” (John 14:23)

It’s as if a spiritual GPS has been factory-install ed in our hearts, ever ready to guide us along the best route heavenward. There will be stumbling along the way and what seem to be wrong turns and even dead ends—but trust the heart’s deepest instinct. It knows the way. He, Jesus, knows the way.’

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