Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Easter
(Scriptures for the liturgy)
Audio for homily
Children of God, that's what St. John says: We are God's children now!
Seems like the perfect text for a First Communion Mass, doesn’t it?
And it is.
But don’t miss the bigger picture here.
While these First Communion boys and girls certainly are
children of God,
the phrase in the scripture includes every single one of us,
whether we 8 years old or 18, 38, 58, 78 or 88 - 98!
Not matter how old I am, no matter how old I feel,
no matter how old I get,
I am and I always will be a child of God.
I might not be an angel and I might not be a saint;
I may have many times forgotten that I’m a child of God;
I might not have always acted or lived as a child of God;
I may have done things that no child of God should ever do;
but I am a child of God -- and nothing can ever change that.
In God’s eyes –in God’s heart-
each of us will always be a daughter, a son,
because nothing can separate us from the love of God
given us in Christ Jesus.
Think, for a moment, of how we love our children.
We hold the, we hug them.
We watch out for their well-being.
We provide for them. We care for them.
We marvel at their beauty and accomplishments.
We encourage them,
especially when they're having a hard time.
We delight in the smallest things they do.
And when they fail or disappoint us - we forgive them.
That's how we love our children
and that's just how God loves each one of us.
Think of how your heart is touched by your child
when she’s hurt or sad, or lonely…
when he’s worried or frightened or sick…
or when your child is happy and joyful…
Just so is God's heart touched when we, his children,
are hurting, sad, lonely, sick, worried, frightened…
happy and joyful…
The joys and sorrows that are part of the lives of all of us,
move the heart of God
who loves us as we love our own children and
– and loves us even more.
God who loves us is a good shepherd for each of us ---
no matter how far from the flock we may have wandered.
The Lord knows each of us by name and never forgets us
regardless of how long it’s been since we’ve called on his name
or remembered his love for us.
And like the good shepherd in the gospel today,
the Lord lays down his life for us, his sheep.
That's why, even for a celebration as joyful as today’s is,
we gather in the shadow of the Shepherd who suffered for his own,
for his flock, for his beloved… for us.
Let none of us miss what God is showing us here today
as these boys and girls come to the altar
to receive Communion for the first time.
Pray that we see in them and in God’s love for them
how much God loves each of us
– and always has... and always will.
And how God shepherds each of us
back to his love, home to his flock.
The altar at which we gather this morning
is the table of God’s children, young and old.
Here he feeds his sons and daughters with the Eucharist
to strengthen us to love one another
-- to love one another as we have been loved by God.
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