Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Friday, May 23, 2014

Homily - Fourth Sunday after Easter - May 18, 2014

Jas. 1:17-21; Jn. 16:5-14

The readings of the Easter Season show us how the resurrection of the Lord has affected us.  Last Sunday, the Gospel was taken from the discourse of our Lord at the Last Supper.  He tells the disciples He is departing, and going to the Father.  Though He goes from us, He finds a way to stay, in the sacraments, especially the Mass, and in the grace of the life of faith, through the merits of His cross.  Today’s Gospel is taken from the same discourse, and the Lord says He is going to send the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, Who will teach us all things.  What can He mean by this?

There is a wonderful continuity here which the Extraordinary Form Mass captures by combining this Epistle and Gospel.  The first has to do with sending.  Jesus goes to the One who sent Him, and, in turn, the Father and the Son send the Spirit; and the Apostles are sent, and we are sent, and it is the same sending:  “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  The second has to do with hearing.  Jesus is the Word spoken by the Father, and the Spirit will speak what He hears from the Father and the Son; and we have heard; and it is the same Word of truth, spoken from the beginning and taught by the Paraclete.  The Church is sent, and we are sent, equipped with the Word of truth, to continue the mission of the Lord.

We are familiar with the many ways in which the Church carries out this mission.  Certainly, the Magisterium of the Church, the unique charism of Peter and his successors, and the public teaching role of the bishops; the role of catechists who faithfully transmit the teachings of the Church; the intercessory role of parents who hand on the faith to their children; the witness of all of us before the world.

But the Lord speaks in today’s Gospel about an aspect which has to do with them all.  He gives us a clue when He says He sends the Paraclete.  This is a legal term, which means advocate.  Just as, in this life, He was on trial, so the Church, in the world, will be on trial, and the Holy Ghost will be its counsel.  The Lord says the Paraclete, the Advocate, will convict the world:  of sin; the world has found Christ guilty for claiming to be the King of the Jews, the Son of God, and has crucified Him; but in demonstrating the truth of the resurrection, it is not Christ who is guilty, but the world, which is convicted of unbelief; of justice, in demonstrating that the day of salvation has come, it is the world which is convicted, of rejecting the Messiah; and of judgment, in demonstrating that sin and death have been overcome, it is those powers which have now been judged and convicted.  And who will be the witnesses called to stand, but we ourselves, whom the Paraclete will show by our lives evidence for the cross and resurrection of Christ.  Our fidelity and charity bear witness to the truth of the resurrection.  Our fidelity and charity are not always welcome by the world.  But then, it is the world which is convicted, for not believing in the Son of God.    

The word in Latin for sending is mittere, and its present participle is:  Missa.  From this, we get the word for the Mass and for mission.  At the end of Mass, the priest says, “Ite, Missa Est.”  “Go, it has been sent.”  Historians have pondered for years the precise meaning of what has been sent, certainly, the One Sacrifice of Christ, the acceptable offering, to God the Father, for the salvation of the world.  But we are sent, too.  The words are addressed to us, “Ite, go.”  The Lord has accomplished the redemption, now, we bear witness.  The work of salvation is God’s, ours is the credibility of our lives.  It is the same sending, it is the same Word of truth, it is the same mission of the Church gone out.