Posted by: matt25 | April 28, 2014

Two Saints, a Council, and a Call

Saints JP II and John XXIIIUsually when I am going to be preaching a homily, or do any public speaking for that matter, I spend a good deal of time praying about and preparing as I write out what I plan to say. Then I use that written script as a template to keep me on track but I very seldom actually read it, although I departed from that practice for my homily for Good Friday.  In this way I hope to be structured and free to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit at the same time.  In the case of  preaching at multiple masses, each time is different and I believe nuanced by the Spirit for the specific individuals who will hear it.  Maybe even for you if you are about to click play on the SoundCloud widget below and listen to it here on my blog.  This recording is from the 8:30 AM morning mass yesterday at Saint Joseph Church, Fredonia NY.

I hope you will find value in it.  I know that it was a blessing to me to write and deliver it.  I have attached the written script under the recording but keep in mind it was meant to be heard rather than read.



Homily for April 26-27, 2014 the 2nd Sunday of Easter, Sunday of Divine Mercy, Cycle A , Lectionary: 43,  on the occasion of the Canonization of Saints John XXIII & John Paul II.

Reading 1 ~ Acts 2:42-47
Responsorial Psalm ~ Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Reading II ~ 1 Pt 1:3-9
Gospel ~ Jn 20:19-31

My brothers and sisters, I put it to you that today it is a wonderful day to be a follower of Jesus Christ! Why is that? Why this particular Sunday is special?

It is special because it is the 2nd Sunday of Easter.
What we celebrate every Sunday is still fresh in our minds. We celebrate the mass with an Easter joy that flows from our entering in to the victory over sin and death we know in the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

It is special because it is the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday. In his homily at the first universal celebration of this feast in 2001, Pope John Paul II quoted the words of Jesus to St Faustina which are recorded in her diary:
“”Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy” (Diary, 300).
The pope then continued, “Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity at the dawn of the third millennium.

Speaking of John Paul II, This Sunday is also special because early this morning, for the first time in history, two popes will be canonized in the same ceremony. John XXIII and John Paul II, who knew each other in life, are being recognized together as they intercede for us in heaven.  It is also the first time in history that two popes, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI have publicly concelebrated mass together.

I find this especially appropriate for these two holy men who were canonized are sometimes referred to as the twin bookends of Vatican II. John XXIII convoked the council and called the church to renewal while John Paul II helped steer us through some of the confusion that followed the council and announced the work of the new evangelization is the mission of every Catholic.

You see Vatican II spoke of a call that all of have as baptized Christians in Dogmatic Constitution on the Church called Lumen Gentium. It is referred to as the Universal Call to Holiness.

It meant that holiness was not just for priests, holiness was not just for nuns and monks, holiness was what we were called to as laity. We, you and I, were called to a lifetime of being in relationship with God, a lifetime of being friends with God, and a lifetime of sharing the love that we have in that relationship with others. By doing that we accept the gift of Mercy that Jesus gave us in his Passion and Resurrection and we help bring the gift of mercy to the world.

This is why it is so wonderful that these men are being canonized together on Divine Mercy Sunday. Because, the entire Council contained this call within it which resonates with the Mercy of God.

I see a trajectory in this mercy which continues to expand .
In the opening speech of Vatican II, John XXIII said, “the (Church) Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity.
John Paul II was known to some as “the mercy pope” and calls mercy “love’s second name.” And today we have Pope Francis who seems to speak and act with mercy as the foundation of all that he does with his pontificate.

So let’s do this, you and I together. Let us “devote ourselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)  “Let us give our praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” ( 1 Peter 1:3)  And let us always remember and build our lives upon the words of Jesus, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21)

Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, Pray for us.

Jesus, we trust in You.


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