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5th Sunday of Easter, April 25, 2010

 
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Fr.Paul Weinberger
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Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 199
Location: Greenville, Texas

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 4:37 pm    Post subject: 5th Sunday of Easter, April 25, 2010 Reply with quote

5th Sunday of Easter
April 25, 2010
Homily by: Father Paul Weinberger
St. William the Confessor Catholic Parish
Greenville, Texas

Paul and Barnabas strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Amen

In order to understand this Gospel it is necessary to remember where it comes. Just after Judas had left them, as it says in the first words of the Gospel, Jesus and the other Apostles left there and went up to the Mount of Olives. St. John’s Gospel says that when Jesus had given Judas the morsel, Holy Communion, Satan entered his soul. This is what happens when someone in mortal sin receives Holy Communion; not the light and life Christ, but a very different consequence. The Gospel said that Satan entered his soul. After this Jesus and the other Apostles went to the Mount of Olives.

In the Gospels Jesus is often called “Son of David.” This Gospel and where Jesus went after the Last Supper recalls something that happened centuries before with King David, who had many sons. The most famous was probably King Solomon. But, he had a son named Absalom, who wanted to be king while David was still alive. Of course, this honor had been given to Solomon but that didn’t stop Absalom, who began an insurrection and even managed to speak to one of King David’s closest counselors, Ahitofel, who conspired with Absalom against King David. When King David was made aware of this armed insurrection he left his palace in Jerusalem, covered his head, and made his way up the Mount of Olives. Sounds very familiar doesn’t it?

When Absalom was taking part in this armed insurrection he was going along on a mule. One of the characteristics of Absalom was his long hair, very long hair. As he was riding on the mule the wind was blowing and he got his hair caught in the branches of the Terebinth tree and the mule kept going along, which left Absalom hanging from the tree by his hair. Nearby was someone loyal to King David and he took a spear and he dispatched Absalom. A son of King David and a traitor, if you will, died hanging from a tree.

Recall that when Judas had left them that Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified.” Judas left, went and made the final arrangements to hand over Jesus, to give them a sign. Then Judas regretted what he’d done and went out and hanged himself from a tree. It is interesting to see the treason of a son and the treason of a spiritual son in Judas.

But Jesus is speaking here of His glory and He knows exactly what is going to happen to Him; He is not tricked or fooled but knows that the cross lays ahead. The cross is the glory of Jesus. All that Jesus is speaking of is all about the cross.

“Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in Him.”

The work that Jesus has to do is the cross, or as St. Paul and Barnabas said to those people to strengthen their spirits and exhort them in the faith,

“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.”

This is the work by definition that we have as Christians. The work is the cross; the glory of Christ is the cross.

Yesterday was the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker. It has only been the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker since a year after this Church was dedicated. In 1955 Venerable Pope Pius Xll declared May 1st to be the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. St. Joseph, who is the Foster Father of Jesus and the husband of Mary, is celebrated on May 1st as the model worker.

For a long time, on May 1st the Soviet Union would celebrate May Day; they would celebrate workers on that same day. The Soviet Union was spreading their errors across the world and one of those errors concerned work. According to the Soviet Manifesto the work is something that the state gives you and you do it. If you are able to do it and are productive, you serve the state and then you die. If you are unproductive you are of no use to the state and you should “check out.” This is of course a very encapsulated way of speaking about the communist understanding of work.

The contrast is amazing because as Christians we understand that God has given each one of us a mission that He has given to no one else and it is ours to complete. More about that in a minute.

Yesterday, on the first of May was the 3rd anniversary of Bishop Ferrell being installed as the bishop of the Dallas Diocese. He is Bishop Kevin “Joseph” Farrell. Just days before his anniversary he consecrated two priests in our diocese as Auxiliary Bishops to help with the work he has here in the diocese. One of those men, Bishop Deshotel, served here at St. Williams from 1988-1992 as pastor. The other is Bishop Seitz. There is a lot of work that has to be done and Bishop Farrell is wise to choose these two men.

Five years ago today Msgr. McCallum passed away. There is a plaque under one of the stained glass windows that honors members of his family. You see his name in various places around here and so much of what you see in the Church as well as outside is tied to Msgr. McCallum. May he rest in peace. The work that he did here in Greenville and in Quinlan was work that God had for him specifically,

Every one of us should look at this Gospel today as well as the first reading and see how God wishes to renew the world, and as it says in the second reading,

“See, I make all things new.”

God wishes to renew the world through our work and this is the glory of Christ, which is the cross., which is for us a burden and at the same time, a glory.

Someone who teaches us a lot about work is the Little Flower, St. Therese’. I mentioned her last Sunday and I have mentioned her to you before. At the age of 15 she enter the cloistered convent just north of Paris at Lisieux. The cloister walls are very high, but those high walls are there, not to keep the sisters in because they are not prisoners, but to keep the world out so that they can pray, work, and sacrifice for all of us in the world. They aren’t just sacrificing for all in the world but have to make many sacrifices inside those walls.

For example, just about the time St. Therese’ entered the convent a family gave two crosses to the convent. One stands in the middle of the courtyard and from wherever you are in the convent, from the windows that overlook the courtyard, you can see in the center this beautiful carved stone crucifix. Jesus is on the cross. That was cross number one that this family gave.

Cross number two was Sister Teresa of Saint Augustine, who was described by St. Therese’ in her autobiography, “The Story of A Soul”. St. Therese was ordered by her superior to write her autobiography starting with her earliest memories to the present day, and she had to be totally honest. She was! Years after she died the manuscript was published and you can buy it today as “The Story of A Soul”.

In the “Story of a Soul” St. Therese’ refers to Sister Teresa of St. Augustine again and again but never calls her by name. Someone had to point out to Sister Teresa of St. Augustine just a couple of years before she died that the person St. Therese’ was referring to in her manuscript was indeed her. St. Therese’ wrote this about Sister Teresa of St. Augustine.

“There is nothing about her which pleases me.”

Her voice was probably like fingernails on a chalkboard. You can just image. St. Therese’ would seek out Sister Teresa because she was indeed a mess and she was going to help her sister inside the walls of the convent as best as she could in spiritual formation and in social formation, but it was a cross, an incredible cross just to be around her. We have all had people, just at first blush, effect us the same way that Sister Teresa had an effect on St. Therese’.

St. Therese’ had three blood sisters in the convent. They were Carmelite Sisters but siblings of St. Therese’, who was the youngest. Now women know that you can fool other people but you can’t fool your older sister. Most of the time the Carmelites spend their time in quiet and working or praying. When they are praying they speak but most of the day is spent in silence. Well, one day St. Therese’ was in her room when one of her blood sisters entered and started crying. She was lamenting to her little sister, Therese’, that she, Therese', didn’t love her half as much as she loved Sister Teresa of St. Augustine.

Everyday the Carmelites had a time that they would all get together in a community area where they could support each other, laugh and talk to each other. Whenever that happened St. Therese’ made a b-line straight to Sister Teresa of St. Augustine. Of course this was noticed by her sibling, who wonder why St. Therese’ didn’t love her half as much as she loved Sister Teresa. There is no doubt about how much Therese' loved her blood sister and she would probably have liked to have leaned over and said that she couldn’t stand St. Teresa of St. Augustine, but Therese’ said nothing.

Was St. Therese’ being a hypocrite or phony? No, she was offering this up as a sacrifice for Sister Teresa and also for people inside and outside the convent, such as Maurice, who I mentioned a couple weeks ago. She also offered prayers and sacrifices up for Pranzini, who’d killed multiple people and was guillotined.

St. Therese’ was offering up large and small sacrifices to God for the all. In fact she made famous her “Little Way” She told God that she wasn’t capable of a big cross because it would be too heavy for her and break her. So she told God that she would offer the little sacrifices of life to Him with great love, and with tremendous success.

This is the genius of the “Little Way of St. Therese”, and one of the reasons she is a Doctor of the Church, who was made so by the Venerable Pope John Paul ll of happy memory, in 1997. St. Therese’ said that she wanted to offer everything right now to save souls. She didn’t want these things that she did so well going into some kind of spiritual bank account in the sky so that when she died and was judged by God they would all come into her inheritance. No, she said she wanted to spend everything right now while she was alive. Of course we understand why; she was a woman. [Laughter] Just kidding ladies. She even used that propensity in a spiritual sense and made tremendous progress in doing so. She said that even if at the moment of her death she was empty-handed, no graces whatsoever in her hands, that God could make her ready in an instant to go before Him and she would indeed be ready. St. Therese’ had lots of work to do and she even claimed, like Padre Pio, that this work would continue after her death. This is absolutely in line with St. John’s Gospel today.

Speaking about the Father, Jesus said things like this again and again about the work that He has to do in St. John’s Gospel, chapter 29.

“I do always the things that are pleasing to Him.”

In St. John’s Gospel, chapter 17, verse 4, Jesus says,

“I have accomplished the work that You have given Me to do.”

St. Joseph the Worker, St. Therese’, and so many others that we know and are working along side of understand this, but it is interesting that we are so much like Goldilocks. Remember the three bears? This is too hard, too soft, too cold, too hot. It is certainly true of me; I complain when there is too much work and I complain when there is none. You can just see God up in Heaven saying,

“Who is this guy?”

Right? But we are like Goldilocks on steroids. We distract ourselves from the work God has for us.

If you had a choice of two doctors, if you knew that they both entered the same medical school at the same time and took the same courses and the first doctor made it public that when he studied for his courses or an exam that he studied in front of the TV, and the other doctor was very different; he never turned on the TV when he studied, would you choose doctor "A" or doctor "B"? Most of us would choose the doctor that didn’t turn on the tube because he would be more prepared, done better work, and would serve us better.

How can we claim to be doing God’s work when we give in to a series of distractions? We wake up the next day and again give in to a series of distractions.

Work is following in the Way of the Cross. The glory of Jesus is the glory of the cross. Any other way is something called, “You are making it up.” We have examples around us of people who worked and of course, they weren’t perfect. None of us are but we have work to do and God has given me this work. God has given each of us work that He hasn't given to no one else, absolutely no one else. It is like that prayer in the bulletin to St. Joseph.

"St. Joseph, help me to do the work that God has for me today.”

He will help! He is very happy to help! So many people in the world are scared to the point that they are immobilized and if you talk them off the ledge and get them back into the room and turn around, again the next day or a week later they are back on the ledge. I am serious. We need to strengthen and exhort one another. There is work that only you and I can do.

I saw a woman in the hospital yesterday that was hard at work. In a few weeks she will be 100 years old. I know why this woman is still alive. Her husband died about 40 years ago, but before he died they had no children so they adopted a child. I met him yesterday while he was there holding his mother’s hand, she’d had a stroke. Now, men know this, but most mothers will say something like this,

“Lord, whatever pains I am having right now or whatever difficulties I am undergoing now or in the future, I offer to You all of them until my last breath. Just get my family and me to Heaven.”

I know that is why that woman is working away and hanging on just weeks away from turning 100. How proud she should be for the work she’s done to this point. I mean, her son is there at her side.

There is work and it will not stop until we draw our last breath. That means we have to encourage and exhort each other to persevere. St. Paul and St. Barabbas did this. They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith saying,

“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God."

If we turn our back on this work, how are we any different from Absalom? How are we any different from Judas?

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Amen
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