5/9/10

On keeping the Lord's word...


Image: Picasso

Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

(Scriptures for today's liturgy)

Whoever loves me will keep my word…

Jesus is looking for hearts that will keep his word.

Of course, he’s not the only one!

Many people give us their word to keep:
friends, spouses, colleagues...
They give us their word of friendship, their word of love,
their word of trust, their word of pledge and promise…

These are people looking for hearts
in which they can speak their word
without fear of ridicule or rejection…

They’re looking for hearts in which their word
will be respected, reverenced and treasured
when entrusted from one heart to another…

We all seek hearts that will keep our word
and Jesus looks for hearts that will keep his word…

Keeping someone’s word in my heart is not always easy.
It requires: attentiveness, care, vigilance, loyalty,
a strength that is gentle and a gentleness that is robust.

To keep someone’s word in my heart
is to be attuned, even obedient to its presence;
to listen and respond to it faithfully;
to be faithful to the one who gave my heart a word to keep.

When I keep a word entrusted to my heart,
there is joy for me and for the one who trusts me…
When I fail in keeping another’s word
I break the spirit and the bond we shared…

When you keep someone’s word in your heart
(certainly when you keep the Lord’s word in your heart)
you don’t know when it will call on you, what it will ask of you,
where it will lead you or how it will change you…
Hearts that keep the word of others,
hearts the keep the Lord’s word,
are hearts doing what hearts were made to do…

Such are the hearts we all seek
for the safekeeping of the word we want to share,
the word we hope another will keep…

And Jesus seeks just the same kind of hearts.
The word he asks us to keep, is love,
a word calling us to put others and their needs
ahead of ourselves and our own needs.

The word Jesus asks us to keep in our hearts
is as demanding as it is precious, as stern as it is gentle,
as hard to keep as it is a joy to hold.

And those who keep Jesus’ word are assured
their hearts will become a home, a dwelling of God’s presence
and where God is present, in that place there is peace.

Peace he leaves with us, his peace he gives to us...
the peace he gives to those who keep his word.

And the peace he promises is not the world’s peace.

His peace is not the absence of conflict or an escape from troubles.
Rather, his peace is meant to flourish good times and in bad.

His peace is not the absence of something, his peace is a presence:
a presence of trust, strength, vision and hope so great
that no conflict or fear can overwhelm it.

His peace is an unquenchable flame,
a light no darkness can extinguish…
His peace dwells in the hearts of those who hear and keep his word…

Is this the kind of peace we long for in the conflicts and troubles,
the problems and worries that burden and crowd our hearts?
If we desire that peace we need to keep the word of Jesus
and he will make his home in our hearts
and give us his peace lest our hearts be troubled or afraid.

If we keep the Lord’s word, the Lord’s word will keep us…

In our prayer today he has spoken and invited us to keep his word.
In the sacrament of this table he comes to dwell in us
as we receive his body and blood in the Eucharist.

May we keep the word we hear.
may that word find a dwelling place in our hearts.
And may that same word bring us his peace…


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2 comments:

michelle said...

yes, this is "the kind of peace I long for in the conflicts and troubles, the problems and worries that burden and crowd" my heart-

...but, how do I know I am really keeping the Lord's word? What does it look like?

(these questions may seem basic and maybe obvious to some, but I just need to make sure I am doing it right)

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I have at times experienced that peace. It makes keeping His word desirable and enticing. Thanks for the homily. (I always read your homilies. They nearly always speak to me.) Have a blessed Sunday!