Friday, May 12, 2017

"YOU WILL DO GREATER WORKS."


Homily for May 13th, 2017: John 14:7-14.

“Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,” Jesus says, “and will do even greater works than these …” How is that possible? Well, consider. During his life on earth Jesus= works were confined to just a few years, and to one very small part of the world. But these works did not end with Jesus= return to his Father in heaven. They have continued, through his Church. Starting as a sect of Judaism, the Church throughout the whole world and has continued through twenty centuries of history. We the Church=s members are charged to continue Jesus= works. He has now no hands to bless people than ours; no eyes to look upon people in love than ours; no tongue to speak words of love, encouragement, or reproof but ours; no arms to support people and their burdens than ours. The Church=s works are greater than those of her Lord because they are more extended in time and space than they could ever be during the few years that Jesus walked the dusty roads of Palestine. And the Church=s works are great C amazing in fact C because they have never ceased despite the failures and betrayals of Church leaders and members. The betrayals began when, at Jesus= arrest, Athey all forsook him and fled@ (Mk 14:50); and when, only hours later, their leader, Peter, three times denied that he even knew the Lord. Should we be surprised when we hear of similar betrayals today?

Let me close with a story. It’s only a story, but it tells us something important.  When the Lord Jesus returned to heaven at the ascension the angels wanted to know everything he had done on earth.  So Jesus told them how he had gone about doing good, healing the sick, and teaching people about the freely given love of God.

AThat=s wonderful, Lord,@ the angels said.  ABut now that you=re no longer in earth, won=t people soon forget about what you have done and said?@

AOh no,@ Jesus explained.  AI founded a Church.  I chose twelve men to be its first bishops.  I spent three years teaching them: how to pray, how to heal people, how to free them from their burdens, how to teach others about God=s freely given love.  They are going to carry on my work.@

AThat=s all well and good, Lord,@ the angels replied.  ABut we know how fickle and unreliable these human beings are.  How do you know that they will keep on doing all those things you trained them to do?  How do you know that they will remain faithful?@

At that the Lord fell silent.  He looked down and seemed to be thinking.  Then he looked up and, with that beautiful, radiant smile of his, said very simply: AI trust them.@