Apologies from Fr. Antony that there was trouble with the live-streaming of the mass today. Here is the homily from today’s holy Mass for your convenience.
Homily of Fr. Antony Vadakara, CMI
6th Sunday of Easter – May 17, 2020
The parting of friends is never easy. Some partings are harder than others. The most painful parting that human beings experience is when someone dies.
Think of the pain of such partings in the context of the COVID-19 deaths. The family and friends are not even able to gather and weep and say goodbye to the loved ones. A whole lot of pain surrounds the entire world. Many are experiencing deep anxiety, depression and other mental conditions.
What makes the parting through death different from all other partings is the finality of it. That we are not able to see those loved ones again on this side of the world.
For some time, Jesus had been giving the Apostles hints of his death. But the night before his death, Jesus talked to them openly.
It is significant to note that Jesus did not speak of death in the way we tend to do, in the sense of life’s ending. Jesus spoke of his death as a going away, “going to the Father”. But all that the Apostles heard was the fact that He was leaving them.
Of course, he was leaving them but not really abandoning them. To be abandoned is the most painful and damaging thing that can happen to anyone. There is a kind of leaving which implies rejection.
For instance, a girl had hopes of marriage, but her fiancé suddenly leaves for someone else. The girl feels rejected. This can be extremely painful. But in the Gospel story Jesus is not rejecting the Apostles.
There is a leaving which is for the good of the one leaving. For example, a person is leaving to return home or leaving to take up a better job somewhere else. Still painful but the pain is lessened by the fact that the parting is for the good of the person. This is the kind of leaving Jesus is going to make. Jesus’ leaving is for His own good. Jesus is returning to His Father. He is going to honor and glory.
Some partings benefit both the person leaving and those left behind. Jesus’ leaving is for His own good and for those left behind. This is the full truth about Jesus’ leaving. His leaving is good for the Apostles and the entire humanity. It is good because He will send the Apostles and us, the Holy Spirit. “I will not leave you orphans,” said Jesus. He also spoke about coming back to them. He would come to them through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus does not leave us orphaned. We have the access to His presence, and to the help of the Holy Spirit as the first Christians had. Nowhere do we feel so close to Him as when we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. When we receive the Eucharist, we are entering into a holy communion with Jesus. The food of the Eucharist gives us the strength to do His word and to live as His disciples. And Jesus says: “If you love me, keep my commandments”. He is not talking about just the Ten Commandments. He is talking about new values and attitudes towards God, towards our neighbor and towards life itself. We cannot truly call ourselves disciples of Jesus if we do not listen to His words and try to live by them.
People know us by our acts, not by what we say with our lips.
God Bless you all!