5.16.18 Wed. 7th wk of Easter (II)
Acts of Apostles 20: 28 – 38
Gospel of John 17: 11b -19
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, †Jesus prayed: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth”. The Gospel of the Lord.
Homily: Fr. Mike Murphy Living The Truth
There are two farewells in our Scripture readings this morning. St. Paul bids farewell to the Church in Ephesus. Paul knows he is going to be facing opposition in the future and that he will not see them again before he dies. But he warns them to be vigilant because some will come along to pervert the ‘Truth of the Gospel’ that He has proclaimed.
Then at the Last Supper, †Jesus prays for His disciples; He too, knows the opposition that He faces in the hours ahead. He will not see them again before He dies. In His prayer to the Father -†Jesus prays: “Consecrate them in the truth, your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I send them into the world and I consecrate myself for them; so that they also may be consecrated in the truth”. (John 17:17-20) Three times in those two verses, †Jesus prays that they remain in the truth; that they hold fast to the truth, because others will try to subvert the truth. †Jesus Christ is the living incarnation of the truth. He is the One Truth! Earlier at the Last Supper, †Jesus declares: “I am the way, the truth and the life”. (John 14:6) †Jesus alone – is – and proclaims – ‘the truth’. Servant of God, William Giaquinta wrote: “Everyone else, educators, scientists, arts and philosophers give bits of the truth. Only Christ gives the entire truth, the liberating truth”. (Servant of God Guglielmo Giaquinta; The Cenacle; Pro Sanctity Editions, 1971; p.147)
The apostles are consecrated in the truth – and it is their mission to proclaim the words of †Jesus. They are to proclaim the truth. But it is not only their mission and that of their successors. In bidding farewell to the Community in Ephesus, St. Paul said: “I commend you to God and to that gracious word of His, that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated”. (Acts 20:32) The disciples of †Jesus are consecrated to the truth. That’s our vocation! We’re disciples of †Jesus, so we are consecrated in the truth. That’s what we are called to be. Just as †Jesus was called by the Father to serve in holiness and truth – we too have been given the grace to serve God because we are God’s ambassadors.
(Speaking to the students.) What’s an ambassador? Who can tell me what an ambassador is? Yes, a representative. So, we are representatives of †Jesus – which means we have to live in love and holiness. We have to represent the truth of †Jesus. So, what does God’s truth do? It frees us from ignorance and deception to sin. It reveals God’s goodness, His love and His wisdom; that’s what the truth does. And God’s truth gives us the thirst for holiness – so that we can be saints; that’s our call.
The Holy Spirit is the source of all holiness, bestowing God’s grace on us so we can be holy as God is Holy. That’s what the truth allows us to be. If we live the truth of †Jesus Christ, we will be holy as God is Holy. The Holy Spirit which was given to the Church at Pentecost, which we celebrate this coming Sunday, transforms us by purifying us. It purifies us through God’s love. God’s love is a purifying love, changing us into the image and likeness of Christ – so that we can live out our truth in our mission.
Blessed John Cardinal Newman wrote: “God has created me for some definite service. He has committed some work for me to do that He has not committed to another (person). I have my mission. I may never know what it is in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing; therefore I trust Him, wherever, whatever I am, I cannot be thrown away”.
Everyone here in this Church this morning has an important place in God’s plan. Your life is an unrepeatable mission. Unrepeatable – just like a beautiful stained-glass window. If you take one piece of glass out of that beautiful window, it’s not the same window any more – it would be incomplete.
All of us have a part in God’s plan. If we remain consecrated to the truth, it will be accomplished. And this is what ‘consecrated’ means – to be set apart for something special. This bread and this wine, they’ll soon be consecrated. They will be “set apart” (no longer ordinary bread and wine). They will be consecrated to become the Body and Blood of †Jesus and the Eucharist witnesses to the historic continuity between †Jesus, His apostles and us. Now, that’s our mission – our mission is to proclaim the Good News, the truth of †Jesus Christ – to bring God’s plan of love to fruition and this cannot be done unless we are grounded in the truth of †Jesus (not in the world’s truth). The world’s truth is relative – everybody has their own truth in the world; but we are to be grounded in the One Truth that is eternal. Our lives must be grounded in †Jesus and His Word, because His truth is the source of authentic happiness.
If you think the truth of the world will make us happy, it is a lie. Look at all the many celebrities – look at the sports figures – and politicians; they all live for fame and fortune because they think that is going to make them happy and fulfill them. That is their truth. We can chase after the truth of the world, but it’s not going to get us anywhere. We can run the rat-race, and try to seek out this illusory happiness – but just remember – even if you win the rat-race – you’re still a rat!
The truth of †Jesus will set you free!
Follow His way of holiness!
That is the race of a lifetime – and then you will be a saint!
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.