Homily Sixth Sunday of Easter Year B

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Homily Sixth Sunday of Easter Year B

Reading 1: This is a major, defining moment in the life of the early Church. Up until this point, the first years after Pentecost, the Apostles basically preached to the Jewish people and to Greek converts to Judaism.  But God had broader plans for the followers of Jesus. Jesus came to save all by his death and resurrection, both Jews and Gentiles. But up until now, the law of circumcision and the precepts of Moses were still the norm, besides baptism.

God leads Peter to enter into Cornelius’ house, a Gentile, something considered forbidden by the Mosaic Law. Prior to this, Peter had seen a vision in which God said that all things are clean.  Because of this Peter has a new insight: “God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”

Then Peter shared the core Gospel message of salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Miraculously,  God intervened in a sovereign way. Cornelius and his whole household experienced the same outpouring of the Holy Spirit that the Apostles received on the Day of Pentecost. They manifested the same gifts of the Spirit, praising God.

This was enough for Peter to get the picture from God. He ordered them to be baptized.

When Peter goes back to Jerusalem, the converts from Judaism were upset. First, Peter entered into a Gentile’s house and secondly, he baptized them without first imposing circumcision and the Mosaic dietary laws. Peter explained what he had done was only to follow the lead of God in the matter. Who was he to question God’s plan when the Spirit manifested himself in such a dramatic way, first in a vision, then in the grace of Pentecost.

Sometimes we have a fixed understanding of how things should be done and then God intervenes to show us what his will is in a given situation.  

Gospel: When God shows us his plan, he does so in love. How does God show us his love? “God so loved the world, that he gave us his only Son, that whoever believes in him will have eternal life.” “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” “The love of God is poured forth in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have manifested their love for us in powerful ways.

How do we respond to this amazing truth of revelation?  Love can only be responded to with love: love of God and love of others.  Too simple? Maybe that’s the mystery of life. We complicate life and God simplifies it. What happens when we attempt to love this way? First, Jesus says, God remains in us and we remain in him. Love opens us to more love.

Secondly, love moves us to embrace God’s word which gives us a plan of life, enabling us to remain in his love.

Thirdly, love brings joy into our hearts, knowing that I am loved by God for who I am and knowing that I love God for who he is.

Fourthly, love enables us to lay down our life for another as Jesus, in love, laid down his life for us.

Fifthly, love creates a bond of friendship and intimacy with God and others.
How is your love life?

Reading 2: John continues his reflections on love. He emphasizes truths that we sometimes forget. God loves us for who we are as we are here and now through and through. It is the Spirit of God, given to us in Baptism and renewed in a fresh new way in Confirmation, who is a sign of God’s love within us.

What makes us more like God is love! What separates us more from God is the lack of love. Love is at the heart of our being. A basic human instinct is to be love and to love.  The more we are loved, the more we reflect the mystery of God who is love. Our brokenness is related to the lack of awareness of God’s love for us or from the absence of love from others. Our wholeness comes from the healing and renewing power of love.

Accept God’s love, at least in faith, whether you feel it or not. Act on God’s love, at least in faith, whether you feel it or not. Then love will have a chance to transform your life from ordinary to extraordinary, from plain to exceptional, from mere lip-service to concrete reality. And, eventually, perfect love will overcomes all fear, which motivated Peter to act in the life of Cornelius.

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