Homily 04/29/18: 5th Sunday of Easter +Remain in Me as I Remain in You

5th Sunday of Easter, 2018

There is nothing like the living experience of the power of the Resurrection. In two of our readings this morning we are called to remain in Christ even as he remains in us. We are invited into an intimacy with Christ that many of us will hardly dare to think of or imagine to be possible but it is this closeness to Christ, our oneness with him that makes our lives fruitful and filled with lasting joy.

Throughout these past weeks we have heard again and again of Christ’s unexpected appearances, whether it was at the tomb to Mary Magdalene after his death, to the apostles in the upper room, to the travelers to Emmaus or along the seashore while the disciples were fishing. Jesus continues to come into each one of our lives at unexpected times and places. He seems to enjoy surprising his friends and followers.

As monks we may go through periods of our life when we feel he is nowhere in sight but if we dare to trust, somewhere deep down we know he is closer to us  than we are to ourselves, is guiding us into a process of transformation that far exceeds out ability to understand and will only come to an end when the darkness of this life passes away. When we reflect carefully on the meaning of his passion and death we see how we as his disciples are being drawn into his own complete surrender to the Father’s plan for our world today.

As believers, Jesus is drawing each and all of us gathered here this morning into a life surpasses any human design, into the very life Jesus now shares in the eternal embrace of the Father. Sometimes an event will reveal what this may possibly be like. Just a few weeks ago there was captured on film and may now be seen on YouTube, a five or six year old boy who had a question for the Holy Father as he visited a parish in a poorer suburb of Rome. The young boy, Emanuele, went to a microphone but then broke down in tears before the whole audience.. The Pope beckoned him up to his chair so that the boy could share what was going on in his heart. Embraced by Francis, Emanuele was able to tell him privately that his father had recently died and while his father had all his children baptized, he did not himself believe in God. The boy loved his father, believed him to be a good man but was in anguish about his salvation. Pope Francis asked the boy if God would abandon his children if they are good? And he told him that God was surly proud of his father because it is easier to baptize your children as a believer than if you are a non-believer. He told the boy, surly this pleased God very much. Talk to your dad, pray to your dad. Pope Francis then asked Emanuele permission to share what had gone on between the two of them with all those gathered there.

I share this because I feel this is what our gospel is attempting to tell us, that God readily understands what’s going on in our hearts with all their fears and doubts. In this is our Father glorified, that our lives may bear abundant fruit and walk in the footsteps of his beloved Son Jesus. And we can do this all day long by opening our hearts from moment to moment to our loving Father’s presence by remaining in his Son Jesus even as he remains in us.

Isn’t this what our celebration of this Eucharist is bringing about as often as we participate in it. The glorified Christ giving us a share in this very Body and Blood reveals just how open and receptive God is toward each one of us who partakes of them. Through them we share in God’s very own inner life and come to reflect this life to all around us in every aspect of our world today.   Amen