Homily for April 8th, 2016: John 6:1-15.
Following the miraculous feeding of the great crowd in the wilderness, AJesus realized that they would come and carry him off to make him king, so he fled back to the mountain alone.@ The people were so impressed with the great Asign@ which Jesus had performed, that they want to capture the power the had seen in Jesus, so that it would be theirs always.
You cannot capture Jesus Christ. You cannot apprehend him or hold him fast. He will always elude your grasp. ADo not cling to me,@ the risen Lord said to Mary Magdalene in the garden of the resurrection. She wanted to resume the relationship of emotional intimacy with Jesus which she had enjoyed during his public ministry. The time for that was past. ADo not cling to me,@ Jesus told her. ARather, go to my brothers and tell them, >I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God!=@ (John 20:17)
Jesus says the same to us today: ADo not cling to me.” At the end of every Mass the Lord sends us to others: his brothers and sisters C and ours too. As we journey life=s way, with all its twistings and turnings, Jesus is always with us. He remains close to us, even when we stray far from him. But he does not belong to us. We belong to him. He will be with us always C but he will also be ahead of us.
When you come to walk the last stretch of life=s journey, which each of us must walk alone, you will find that you are not alone. Jesus will be walking with you. And he will be waiting for you at the end of life=s road. AI am going to prepare a place for you,@ Jesus says later in John=s gospel, Athat where I am you also may be@ (14:3). That is Jesus= personal promise to you C and to me. And when Jesus Christ promises something, he always keeps his promise.
Here, then, is a question to ponder. When you meet the Lord at the end of life=s road, will you be encountering a stern judge, before whom you shrink in fear? Or will you be meeting a familiar, dearly loved friend? The Lord in his goodness allows us to choose what the encounter will be like. It is the most important choice we shall ever have.