Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sixth Sunday of Easter Cycle A

Welcome to read homilies for the Sundays of the year. These are sample homilies which you can read with devotion. You may use them in your own homilies without asking my permission. You may also change or edit these to fit them to your audience. A unique quality of these homilies is that they are Christ-filled. From beginning to end they present to us some aspect of Jesus so that beholding his glory we “are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NAB).

The Fastest Processor

Our world today is dominated by the computer industry. Everywhere we see computers, whether at our desk, in our cell phones, in our digital watches and so on. From physically big computers we have gone into very small computers, some as small as a shirt button or even smaller than this.

One of the main characteristics of a computer is its speed. A computer can do mathematical computations faster than any human being can do. It can also process huge data in a matter of seconds or split-second. What is also noticeable is that the smaller the physical size of a computer the faster is its speed of operation.

We now even have systems where several persons can use a centralized computer at the same time. The Facebook is a gigantic computer based system whereby millions can operate at the same time, looking at pictures, writing messages, uploading and downloading pictures, interacting with the rest of the world.

But everyone also notices that when we use a computer there is a time of waiting, even if this time is only a split second, before an operation can be handled. The time of waiting is longer when putting on a computer. In Facebook there is a time of waiting when logging in and out.

There is however a system which is faster than all the computers around the world combined. This system is the one used in our Gospel reading today. And it does not need a time of waiting. The operation is more instant than the fastest computer in the world.

Our Gospel reading today ends with these words: "And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him."

How could Jesus love each individual of the millions who love him and reveal himself to each of these? The answer is that Jesus is able to do this because of his resurrected body. This brings us to a fifth quality of the resurrected body of Jesus.

Let us review the first four qualities of the resurrected body of Jesus which we have reflected upon in our Easter Sunday homilies.

The first is that Jesus' resurrected body is the first object in the new creation. The second is that his resurrected body can become visible and invisible at his will. The third is that Jesus' resurrected body is very fruitful, the source of an abundant life. The fourth quality is that Jesus' resurrected body makes it easier for others to do the works that need to be done.

A fifth quality of the resurrected body of Jesus is that it can now interact with as many persons simultaneously as though it interacts with only one person. As God, Jesus can interact with a multitude of persons simultaneously on a personal level, with each of these as though he or she were the only person in the world. But Jesus is also a man like us with all the limitations of a human being. We cannot, for example, listen to one hundred persons at the same time and react to each one individually as though only that person of the one hundred exists. But with Jesus' resurrected body as a human being he can do this now because his body is resurrected.

There have been, of course, human beings who were known to bilocate, that is, to be present in two places at the same time doing different things in both locations. One of the recent ones is Padre Pio.

Here is a story from the about an instance of Fr. Pio’s bilocation. "Mother Speranza, who founded the order of the Handmaids of the Merciful Love, said she had seen Padre Pio every day for one year in Rome. He had bilocated there. We know that Padre Pio had never been to Rome, except once in 1917, in order to take his sister to a convent she had decided to enter." Very remarkable indeed.

I know of a priest who told us that he also bilocated without his knowing that he was seen in two places at the same time.

But Jesus can now be in two or twenty or two billion places at the same time because of his resurrected body. This is because his body has spiritual qualities. And a spirit can be present in many places at the same time. This is something that was not true before his resurrection.

This statement of Jesus in our Gospel reading gives us much comfort. "And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him."

When each one of us loves Jesus he says that each one of us will be loved by His
Father and he also will love each of us and reveal himself to us. He will do this in such a way that we feel we are the only person in the world.

I had a similar experience before. In 1975 I went to a doctor of the eyes to have my eyeglasses fitted. When she was measuring the grade of the eyeglasses that fitted my eyes I felt that I was her only patient. She waited for me patiently to show any reaction to the sample glasses that she fitted over my eyes. This struck me as something unique that I shared this experience with my brothers and sisters. The result was that they all went to this doctor to have their eyeglasses fitted and they also felt the same reaction: It is as though they were the only patient that doctor had.

This is the feeling we have when Jesus loves us. We feel that we are the only person in the world he cares about. In this case it is not only our eyes that he cares about but our whole personhood, our body and all its parts, our soul and all its faculties or abilities and our spirit and all its activities.

St. John of the Cross advised us to love God in such a way as though only God and we exist. This is the situation of lovers. They have all the time to themselves.
He said, "Live as though only God and yourself were in this world, so that your heart may not be detained by anything human."

Now in his resurrected body Jesus keeps on revealing the wonders of his love to each one of us as though we are the only person in the world. This he does instantaneously with each one of us, even if there are millions of us loving him. His reaction is faster than the fastest computer in the world. As Jesus reveals more and more of himself to each of us he becomes more and more beautiful to us. We exult and say, You are the fairest of ten thousand to my soul!

There is a hymn entitled "Beautiful Savior". The author of this is unknown. It is also called the Crusaders' Hymn because it was supposedly sung by German soldiers as they entered the Holy Land during the time of the Crusades. But some doubt this origin of the hymn. It was translated by Joseph A. Seiss. With this hymn we end our reflection for today.

Beautiful Savior,
King of Creation,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Truly I'd love Thee,
Truly I'd serve Thee,
Light of my soul, my Joy, my Crown.

Fair are the meadows,
Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer;
He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fair is the moonlight,
Bright the sparkling stars on high;
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer,
Than all the angels in the sky.

Beautiful Savior,
Lord of the nations,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor,
Praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine!

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Note for the readers:

The Mass readings are from the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE). This is where our Lectionary gets the readings.

NAB stands for New American Bible (before it was revised). This is the translation I use. Unless otherwise stated the text I use is from this translation.

AV stands for Authorized Version of the Bible. It is more commonly referred to as the King James Bible. It is the version most used in English literature, therefore it is the one known more by the English speaking world.

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