Sunday, May 14, 2017


Homily for May15th, 2017: John 14: 21-26.

          “Whoever loves me will keep my word,” Jesus tells his friends. He is speaking to the apostles at the Last Supper, after washing their feet. He did this to show them that he was sending them to serve others, and not to be served. That is what Jesus means by keeping his word: being servants of others. Jesus was speaking not just to those twelve men in the Upper Room at Jerusalem. He is speaking also to us. If we keep his word, he is telling us, his heavenly Father will love us, and both Jesus himself and his Father will love us and come to us, and make their dwelling with us. What a wonderful promise that is! And of course whenever Jesus promises something, he always keeps his promise.

          None of us ever keeps God’s word completely, however. All of us fail at times. That was why Mother Teresa – now St. Teresa of Kolcatta – used to say: “God does not ask us to be successful. He asks us to be faithful.” When we fail, we need to remember what our wonderful Pope Francis never tires of telling us: “God never grows tired of forgiving us. It is we who grow tired of asking for forgiveness.” 

Speaking to a vast crowd of young people in Germany in September 2011, his predecessor, now Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI said: “Dear friends, Christ is not so much interested in how often in our lives we stumble and fall, as in how often with his help we pick ourselves up again. He does not demand glittering achievements, but he wants his light to shine in you. He does not call you because you are good and perfect, but because he is good and wants to make you his friends. Yes, you are the light of the world because Jesus is your light. You are Christians – not because you do special and extraordinary things, but because he, Christ, is your life. You are holy, we are holy, if we allow his grace to work in us.”

          Pope Benedict’s words were an example of something else that Jesus promises in today’s gospel reading, at the close. “The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” On that evening with those young people in Germany almost six years ago, the Pope of that day was doing just that.