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5th Sunday in Easter, Year C – Homily

5th Sunday of Easter, Year C
Acts 14:21-27
Psalm 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
Revelation 21:1-15a
John 13:33-31-33a, 34-35
April 24, 2016

This is the fourth week in a row where our second reading has come from the Book of Revelation.  Revelation tells of several visions that John has of what Heaven will be like.  These visions can be difficult for us to understand.

Today’s reading speak of one of John’s vision but it doesn’t give difficult images to understand.  It centers on John seeing “a new heaven and a new earth.”  It ends with, “Behold, I make all things new.”

What is your vision of Heaven and Earth should be like?

What would your ideal life be?

Would it be a loving spouse, a perfect marriage, two children (one boy, one girl), retire young, and travel the world?

That might happen for some but how often do we get exactly what we want?  Is what we want good?

Think of Paul.  He had been a zealous Jew, working as a Pharisee to serve God.  He saw Jesus’ followers as worshipping a false prophet and he worked hard to stop them.  He was doing what he thought was best but Jesus appeared to him and revealed otherwise.  Paul then become a zealous Christian.  Paul worked to glorify God.

God has a plan, a vision for what the world should be like.  How much do we work for God’s vision versus what we want?

For me, one of the things I would like is stability and to know exactly what is going on.  I don’t seem to get either.

I have been here for four years and I believe that we have done a lot of good things that have been God’s will and helped people deepen their relationship with God but now I believe God is saying, “Good job, but now I have something else for you.”

I would like stability from being in the same place for a while.  I would like to know what is coming but I don’t so I trust in God.

I hope my trust in God serves to glorify God.  Jesus glorified God by doing the Father’s Will.  In turn, God glorified Jesus by raising Him up in the Resurrection.

Do we glorify God?

What does it mean to glorify God?

One way we glorify God is by praising God.  We praise God in the way we worship God.  We celebrate Mass to praise God.

Sometimes we think coming to Mass is supposed to make us feel good.  In general, coming to Mass should be a good experience but its purpose should not be just to “feel good.”  I think of “feeling good” as something superficial, a short lived experience of happiness.

I use the word “happiness” to signify an earthly state of having a good day.  Mass goes a step further.  Mass should help draw us into a deeper awareness of God’s presence in our lives.

It’s a hard distinction for me to make, happiness versus the joy that comes from a deeper relationship with God but it is a big distinction.  Happiness is short lived.  Joy from a deeper relationship with God lasts through the good and the bad.

Happiness makes us feel good for a few minutes.  Joy leads us to become more like Jesus, more aware of his presence, and a deeper desire to live as Jesus teaches us.

What does Jesus give us as a new commandment?  “Love one another.”  Our love of Jesus should lead us to love others.  This can be a challenge.  What does it even mean to love?  We love in different ways with different people; friends, siblings, parents, children, friends, as man and woman in marriage, and we are even called to love strangers.  Each differently but each as Jesus teaches us.

Our love for Jesus should govern our actions so that when we leave Mass we go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your lives.

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