Homily Fifth Sunday of Easter Year C Give glory to God

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Homily: Fifth Sunday of Easter Year C

Reading 1: Paul and Barnabas were signaled out by the Holy Spirit to go to the Gentile world to preach the good news of salvation in Jesus, the Risen Lord. Our reading is about the end of that first journey and their return to Antioch, Syria, where it began.

It says in the first part that they went to Antioch, Greece to bid farewell to the house church established there. What they said to the believers can be said to us today. Paul and Barnabas exhorted them to persevere in their faith in Jesus Christ. “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”

As the twelve apostles appointed deacons to take care of the needs of the people, so Paul and Barnabas appoint elders (priests) to continue the pasturing of the community as the disciples leave.

Then they returned to Antioch, Syria and related to the community that sent them how the Gentiles responded to the proclamation of the truth. And the Church gave glory to God.

Why were Paul and Barnabas so effective? They followed the lead of the Holy Spirit. They proclaimed the truth in the power of the Holy Spirit. They acted in love and not for selfish gain.

Reading 2: We are given in the Book of Revelation what we will experience if we persevere in faith, if we endure the suffering because of the name of Jesus, if we follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, if we love others as Jesus has loved us. What is that? To be with God forever in glory.

What does this look like? We will be in the new heaven and new earth; we will be the bride of Christ, adorned for her husband; we will be fully in the presence of God as his redeemed and glorified people. There God will wipe away every tear. There will be no more sadness, death or mourning, no more pain, because the old has passed and the new is eternal. This is the promise God has made and God has fulfilled in the lives of those who are with him now.

There is great joy and anticipation for our coming into the eternal kingdom where the glorified ones are glorifying God with songs, and shouts, with worship and praise. Are you excited?

Gospel: We are at the Last Supper. Jesus has washed the feet of the disciples, given them an example of service they needed to imitate. Then he gave Judas a last chance to desist from his intention to betray Jesus. But Judas was determine no matter what.

And now Jesus focuses on the eleven. In John’s Gospel the Last Super was an opportunity for Jesus to leave them his Last Will and Testament. He already showed them the example service. He will speak of the coming and role of the Holy Spirit; he will speak of the need for them to be one with him and with each other, as he is one with the Father; he will tell them that his departure, namely his death, will bring them sadness, but his resurrection will bring them joy. For he goes to prepare a place for them.

Our present Gospel selection speaks of two other subjects that Jesus left with them. First, that his death on the cross will give God glory and the Father will in turn raise Jesus up, revealing Jesus’ glory as Lord and Savior. The apostles had already heard Jesus talk about glorifying God and they heard the Father’s voice saying he will glorify Jesus soon.

The way Jesus will glorify God is the same way we are called to glorify him. Jesus chose to do the will of God, obediently even to the death of the cross. When we seek to do the will of God in all circumstances we are glorifying God. In so doing we are acknowledging that he is God and we are his creatures.

The second way Jesus glorified the Father was that he did the will of God out of love, not obligation or fear. He had an agape love for the Father. He gave his total self to the Father in all he did in his humanity. He tells the disciples and us, “As I have loved you, you must love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, your love for one another.” Paul and Barnabas lived this out in their missionary outreach. The saints in heaven are with God because they gave glory to God on earth by doing his will in love in spite of their hardships.  This is our call, to glorify God by doing his will, loving one another as he has loved us.

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