7th Sunday of Easter (Note & Bulletin)

One of the strongest images from my time in Jamaica occurred with the military incursion on our neighbourhood in which so many people were killed. At one point I remember cautiously looking out a window and seeing a crowd of about fifty women and children screaming and running up the lane to seek safety from the army’s gunshots. When we have experiences like this we are often deeply confused and uncertain, and we wonder how God could permit such things? While this question has been addressed to the Christian faith since the faith’s beginning, perhaps, in light of the feast of the Ascension, we could ask a different and more accurate question. The question is not how does God permit such things, rather, how do we permit such things?

With the feast of the Ascension our mission is clear – the Lord Jesus has put his mission into our hands. Christ said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” As Catholic Christians our fundamental work is the work of proclaiming and seeking to realize the Reign of God in our lives and in our world. In other words, our primary call is the call to discipleship. Many of us in the Church think of this work of proclamation in one of two ways. On the one hand it can simply be a proclamation of words. On the other hand it can also be seen as simply a proclamation of action, that is, by fostering works of charity and justice. My own experience and belief is that our call is less simply than choosing one of the two ways. We are absolutely required to proclaim with both words and actions, but we are to do so with “the eyes of the heart,” as St Paul writes. With “the eyes of the heart” we can see and know, to some extent, the substance of our proclamation. And that content is given to us by Christ who has said that the life he offers for all people is a life rooted and grounded in the life of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. What then is this life? The inner life of God is love. And so our sharing in the mission of Christ is the sharing in his work of love and mercy. In order to speak words of love and to make real actions of love we must know love in our hearts. When I put my head on the pillow I often ask God to make me more loving. We can become more loving by seeing through the Lord Jesus how we are loved by God – our sins are forgiven and forgotten, the sick are lifted up, our darkness is replaced with his light, the isolated are embraced and the unloved are loved. When we glimpse who we are in God’s eyes we begin to be made more loving.

Words without love is merely noise. Action without love is merely a program. A Church and community without love is merely a group. Nothing else matters other than love, because God is love. And so Church the mission that our Lord shares with us is his own mission, it has been put into our hands. We speak his words, we do his actions, and we do both through love. If we want human life to be kinder, more gentle, more understanding, more just, more merciful and more loving, then, in a way it is up to us. Relying on his Grace, with our mouths; with our hands, let us express tenderness and justice; and with our whole lives let us express love and mercy. His mission is our mission, his mission he has placed in our hands.

God Bless and Take Care!
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