Saturday, June 7, 2014

Homily - AMHS Baccalaureate

Acts 22:30;23:6-11

1 Timothy 6:17-19

John 17:20-26


Well, you made it.  But the journey doesn’t end here.
Actually, as Disciples of Christ, our journey never ends until we enter the Kingdom.  But our journey through this life requires several things: courage, commitment and perseverance.  Being disciples of Christ is never easy. 

In today’s first reading, the only apostle prophetically called by Jesus to discipleship, St. Paul, is thinking, maybe this is it.  Maybe my journey will end right here and now in Jerusalem before these angry, blood-thirsty men. 
Even his captors fear for his life as a fight ensues over Paul’s radical devotion to Jesus Christ. Because his whole experience with Christ flies in the faces of Sadducee beliefs, they were ready to tear him apart.
But Jesus gives Paul the comforting, or maybe not so comforting, words;
”Take courage.  For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.”
Rome is where his journey will end as he’s beheaded and made a martyr after many years of spreading the Gospel throughout the Mediterranean.  Paul was the model of courage, commitment and perseverance.
Mirroring St. Paul’s experiences is today’s saint.  It’s the Memorial Day for St. Boniface, Bishop and martyr. 

He could have stayed put in his comfy 8th Century monastery in England, but instead wanted to be a missionary and share the Gospel with the pagans in the wilds of Western Europe. 
Some experts say, St. Boniface willed himself to be a martyr.  He wanted to die for his faith.  Pretty intense, huh?  St. Boniface was a model of courage, commitment and perseverance.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is praying for all of His followers throughout the centuries, especially those who will face hardships.  That includes you.  Jesus is praying for you, too.
In some of his most important prayers to His Father before His crucifixion, Jesus is praying for all future believers.  Jesus is praying for unity among his believers.  Jesus is triumphantly drawing all of us to His embrace.
But are we open to that embrace?  Do we want to face hardship?  Or in our privileged lives as Americans, have we become numb to Christ’s love? 
As our own Archbishop J. Peter Sartain puts it, “You were made for God.  God loves you.  God forgives you.  God is extending a hand of friendship to you.  God has a plan for you.  God is patient with you.  God will never abandon you.  God wants you to be with him forever.”
Just know, wherever you are on your faith journey, Jesus is praying for you.  And Jesus is ready to welcome you into his loving embrace.  
May God bless each and every one of you.  We’ll be praying for you, too. 

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