Homily – Sixth Sunday of Easter (C)

There are some experiences in life that take us out of ourselves.  They move us beyond the everyday routine experience and for a while lift us up to feelings, emotions, ideals, beliefs, possibilities that we don’t generally have.  For some people this happens at a football match.

Some people can be completely transformed and captured by the on field play.  They can be moved from their seats, their concentration totally absorbed in the play, marveling at the skill, following every detail of play, living with the players the exhilaration and adrenalin fix of the moment and in their joy and ecstasy at the delivered goal an onlooker could be forgiven for believing that they kicked the goal themselves.  They are as exhausted and joyous as the player.

Others can have this kind of experience while listening to or playing music.  You may have your favourite piece –be it classical or modern.  We often wonder at the young who seem to be transported into another world as they listen to their music, lost in their dreams and aspirations.  We have to call them back from time to time.

It is as if there is an unbroken link between the game, the player and the supporter or between the music, the performers and the listener.

In the gospel reading of today John is making similar links.  He is not talking about a football match or a piece of music.  He is talking about the bond between Jesus and the Christian community.  If anyone loves me they will keep my word and my Father will love them and we shall come to them and make our home with them.  John sees an unbroken connection between God the Father, Jesus the Son and us – the believing community.  If we are caught up in the way of Christ we are caught up in the knowledge and love of God.  If we are caught up in the way of Christ – breaking the barriers of human division, exploitation, status, honour and prejudice; fearing not the sick, the disabled, and the other; learning to forgive and be forgiven, practicing the love of enemy and speaking out at the sight of human humiliation and degradation through violence, and indignity; then we find that our home is the home of the Father and the home of Jesus.  We are at one with the music and the player; we are at one with the game and the team member; we are at one with Christ and the Father.  This can lead us to do things we might not normally do.  This can lead us to act in spirit filled, courageous and deeply human and freeing ways.

This is the mystery we celebrate in the Eucharist.  This is the place where that link is made explicit.  This is the place where we eat the meal that ritually celebrates what John’s gospel is expressing today.  To participate in the Eucharist is to be caught up in a meal with takes us out of ourselves, beyond the everyday routine of our experience and asks us to become the broken bread we eat for a hungry world.  We are not asked to do this alone but in community and guided by the promised Spirit who makes our link with Jesus Christ and the Father an experience of euphoric unity.  And if we watch and listen carefully who knows where we might be led.

Homily

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