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

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Homily - Sunday after the Ascension - June 1, 2014

1 Pt. 4:7-11; Jn. 15:26-27; 16:1-4

Today is the last Sunday before Pentecost.  The Gospel tells us that if we are to share the life of Christ in its fullness, that we will also share in the cross, in His sufferings, in His rejection by the world.

Next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday.  We celebrated the Ascension of the Lord last Thursday, in which the Lord told His disciples not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for the promised gift of the Father, the Holy Ghost.  It is the first novena in the Church.  Novena means nine days.  It is a time of waiting.  The time we live in is also a time of waiting, waiting for the Lord as He gives us His grace daily, and for His coming at the end of time when He will consummate the work of His cross and resurrection and present all creation redeemed to the Father.

The readings today tell us how to wait.  It is not an empty waiting.  We are not despondent, because we are people of faith.  We have joy, not the passing joy of those who have chosen the wrong kind of happiness, but the joy that is born of hope.  We know that Christ has conquered sin and death, so no matter what the circumstances, we know that His grace will ultimately prevail, that His kingdom will inexorably be established.

In the Epistle, St. Peter urges us to prayer.  We should remember that God always hears and answers our prayers.  The great model for this is the episode which appears in all the Gospels of the disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee.  The storm comes up.  They cry out to the Lord, “Lord, save us.”  Some historians believe this is the source of the Kryie, eleison in the Mass, Lord, have mercy.  They are praying.  The Lord appears to them, and says, “It is I, do not be afraid;” and a challenge, “why are you lacking in faith?”  His first response to our prayers is always His presence.  Presence is the greatest gift, and with the Lord with us, what else do we need to know that He will see us through.  He gets into the boat, there is communion, and, mysteriously, the storm calms.

He also urges us to charity, which covers a multitude of sins.  One of my mentors in the seminary days used to say that with all the people in the world who raise their hands in violence, it is a great privilege that a priest raises his hands in blessing, in consecration of the Sacred Host and the Precious Blood, in absolution and forgiveness.  In the Gospel, the Lord says those who put you to death will be claiming that they are serving God, but they do not know the Father, they do not know me.  Our Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, at an annual inter-religious conference in Assisi, courageously challenged those who perpetrate violence as part of their religion.  Violence can have no part with God.  We raise our hands in blessing.  All of us do.  Whenever we do an act of charity or kindness, we lend our hands to God for the building of His kingdom.

St. Peter in the Epistle mentions hospitality.  Hospitality is the special charity that we extend to each one another in the community of the Church, and our unity makes us strong.  It reminds me of the story of the couple who were married 60 years and were celebrating their anniversary.  Someone asked them how they met.  They said they met at a church social, at the punch bowl.  Someone said, that’s evangelization, somebody had to make the punch.  There is a parable of the kingdom of which our Lord spoke of the mustard seed, the smallest of seeds, but when planted becomes the largest of shrubs.  This is the kingdom of God, that something small can become something great.  Our acts of kindness, small and great, all have merit before God, and no matter how small or great they may be, they are worth doing.

And so, we lend our hands to God, no matter what the circumstances.  He is the one Who fulfills the Paschal Mystery, Who establishes the kingdom, as we live in charity and in joy.