Here is my homily from this morning’s early Mass. God bless each of you!
St. Paul says today, in our first reading, “I am on trial for my hope in the resurrection.” How many of us here this morning would be convicted of this charge should we be on trial for it? Indeed, it is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead that is the central piece of the Gospel, the core preaching of deacons, priests and bishops. It is the resurrection and the call to conversion, to union with him.
When Jesus rose from the dead, it was a mighty earthquake of sorts. His resurrection shook the very foundations of the world. It was an event that was so pivotal that the Apostles couldn’t help but preach to the whole world that Jesus was the Son of God who had come into the world, saved it by his cross and resurrection, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, and that there is no other way for anyone to be saved but through Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and by baptism into his body the Church.
Just as we heard also today in the Gospel, a portion of Jesus’ great prayer to the Father before his Passion, just as we heard that Jesus and the Father were one in the power of the Holy Spirit, one in the Father’s love, so too are we now one with Jesus by our baptism. We are one with God. We have been incorporated as members of his very Body, so much so that wherever Jesus is, so are we! Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father, and so are we in a certain sense. Jesus is here on this earth, in his Mystical Body the Church, and so are we. We are one with Jesus, and the Spirit, and the Father. We have been drawn up into the Trinitarian life.
If we could only truly begin to grasp this! If we could only begin to wrap our minds around this mystery! We are one with God by virtue of our baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit. There is no other name in heaven or earth by which we can be saved… only Jesus through his Body, the Church. No other way; no other name. Only by knowing Jesus Christ!
Yes, we must come to know Jesus! We must, as the theologians would say, encounter Jesus. To know Jesus is to open for us the gates of heaven.
When we come to know him, then, my friends, then we must go out there and live as he has commanded us to live. Then, my friends, we will experience what Jesus told us, “My commandments are not burdensome.” Then, only after knowing Jesus, will we be be able to live the Church’s moral life with its obligations and live it well.
Know Jesus! Be one with him! Live then well!