24 April 2009

Homily for Friday of the Second Week of Easter

Acts 5: 34-42
Portions of Psalm 27
John 6: 1-15

Fear is a constituent element in our lives. From the moment of our birth, the primal cry of the infant is one of fear: fear of the unknown, fear of going hungry, fear of being dropped, fear of being abandoned… fear often undergirds many elements of our day to day life, and, ultimately, for many, fear forms the basis for our relationship with God.

To be certain, the sins we commit should make us fearful when we consider our relationship with God… our sins are like scarlet when compared with the prefect righteousness of Jesus Christ. And yet today, the words of the Psalmist call us to a transform our fear through the simplicity of trust.

Look at our other readings:

In our passage from Acts, some of the Apostles have been brought before the Sanhedrin and, in spite of preaching the Gospel that Christ has handed them, the find themselves flogged and ordered to stop preaching the Gospel. What a miserable situation! And yet, as we are told by Luke, the author of Acts, “The apostles for their part left the Sanhedrin full of joy that they had been judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name.” Here the leaders of the infant Church had been brought before what is, in essence, the Supreme Court of Israel… and they lost their case. Imagine the despair that they might have had – but no! Most certainly the words of the twenty-seventh psalm rung in their minds and hearts with every lash of the whip: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Compare and contrast this with their reaction in our Gospel when, just a few years before, they were confronted with the impossible task of feeding over five thousand with five barley loaves and two dried fish. “What’s the use!” they cry, “Even with two-hundred days worth of wages, we couldn’t begin to even give them a bite!” Jesus works a wonder, feeds the multitude, and the people marvel – but soon enough things will be back to the way they were. Faith will falter, followers will doubt, and they most certainly won’t be willing to hang around for a flogging or worse.

So what compelled Jesus’ followers to transform from a rag-tag band of vagrants and vagabonds to the bold preachers of truth and witnesses of faith that we celebrate so often in the Scriptures and in the Church’s Calendar (as we will tomorrow on the Feast of Saint Mark)?

The Holy Spirit, cleansing the heart, strengthening the mind, and compelling the soul to follow where Christ has trod is the answer – for the Spirit inspires us to trust in the Gospel, and to sing with joy the words of today’s Psalm… the Holy Spirit further emboldens us to seek, in the wake of our reception of God’s mercy and reconciling love, a place in the eternal kingdom where we may contemplate the beauty of the Lord and sing his praise.

The final verse in today’s Psalm selection so wonderfully sums up how the Apostles and Disciples undoubtedly viewed their situation: “Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.”

Are you courageous in waiting? Are you stout-hearted? Do you allow anything to draw you away from Christ? Do you trust in anything or anyone except Christ to rescue you from your sins and bring you to that dwelling-place secure?

If so, fear and trouble will surely follow you; but if you trust in the Lord, and embrace the indwelling Holy Spirit, you can grow, day by day, in the grace needed to transform adversity to joy – even in the face of persecution, hatred, and death.

May God give us this grace, now, always, and forever. Amen.


All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP