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7th Sunday of Easter, Year B – Homily

7th Sunday of Easter, Year B
Acts of the Apostles 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26
1 John 4:11-16
John 17:11b-19
May 17, 2015

Today we hear Jesus praying.  Shortly He will be arrested and crucified.  He is fully aware of this so we might expect Jesus’ prayer to be all about Him.  Jesus could have prayed that He not be arrested and crucified.  He could have prayed for it to be pain free.

He didn’t.

Instead He is praying for us, “so that they be one just as we are one.”  Why would He be praying for us when He is about to die?

The answer is simple – because He loves us!

Jesus is Son of God, seated at the right hand of the Father.  He is consubstantial with the Father.  He has nothing to gain from us.  Everything Jesus does is motivated by His love for us.

Jesus is born just like one of us so that we may know God’s love.  That love is ultimately expressed in His Crucifixion for no one has greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  Jesus’ life is not taken from Him.  He freely gives His life for us out of love.  So when we look at a Crucifix, we see Jesus’ showing His love for us.

Of course, we know that Jesus’ did not “remain dead.”  On Easter Morning He rose from the dead.  No one had risen from the dead before.  The disciples didn’t know what it meant to rise.  Jesus, once again acting out of love, appears to His disciples body and soul so that we all might know what it means to rise.  When it was time for Him to return to Heaven, He allowed His disciples to see Him ascend so that we would know what happened to Him.  All this is in our Creed and all this Jesus does because He loves us.

Going back to Easter, we celebrated a triduum.  That means three days.  We talked about Good Friday and Easter but we also need to talk about Holy Thursday and the love that Jesus showed for us that night.

He washed the feet of His disciples.  He did this because He loved them.  It is also the night Jesus gave us the Eucharist.

The word “Eucharist” is a Greek word that literally means “thanksgiving.”  Certainly, we should be thankful for all that Jesus has done for us.

The word “Eucharist” has also come to signify something very special to us as Catholics.  Jesus takes ordinary bread and ordinary wine and transforms them into His Body and Blood.  We call this transubstantiation.  It’s a word we never hear any other time except with the bread and wine but that’s because there is nothing like it.

In receiving the bread and wine, we are actually receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus.  Some Christians don’t believe this.  We don’t see a change.  It stills looks like bread and wine.   It still tastes like bread and wine.  How do we know it is changed?

Because Jesus said so.

Jesus himself says this is my body, this is my blood which will be poured out for you.  That’s what Jesus does in His Crucifixion.  So each and every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus but we also remember Jesus’ dying on the Cross.

Well, I say remember but what we do today isn’t just “remembering.”  Jesus is all powerful and all-knowing so that in a way we can’t understand, Jesus makes present today what happened almost 2,000 years ago.

So as we celebrate this Eucharist we must remember the love that Jesus has shown for us.

In a few minutes, the bread and wine will be brought forth and I will say the Eucharistic Prayer where the bread and wine will become the Body and Blood of Jesus.  After that, we will receive Communion so that just as the bread is transformed into the Body of Christ, we too are become one body.

The Eucharist gives us strength to live as Jesus teaches.  It makes us one.  Remember Jesus prayer “so that they may be one as we are one”?

Strengthened by what we receive may we truly be one body in Christ.

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