Seventh Sunday of Easter
(Scriptures for today's Mass)
Audio for homily
Boys and girls, we just heard in the gospel
how Jesus reminds us how important it is to know God
and to know Jesus whom God sent to us.
Part of your preparing for First Communion has been learning
to know God and to know Jesus. And you do.
But I wonder, boys and girls,
do you think you could ever forget Jesus, forget God?
Some of you are shaking their heads NO!
But I have to tell you something that might happen:
some day you might forget God, you might forget Jesus…
And I know that because all around us, and I include myself here,
all around us are people who, along the way,
have forgotten God and forgotten Jesus.
Sometimes we ignore God or let God slip off our radar screens
until, oh, Christmas comes along, or maybe Easter,
or a serious problem or loss, or a wedding, or a funeral,
or a First Communion like today -
and suddenly we find ourselves back in church,
singing hymns, saying prayers, listening to the scriptures,
in the presence of God and of Jesus, the one he sent,
whom we might have forgotten…
And maybe we feel a little unfamiliar or uncomfortable or nostalgic.
But most of all, I hope anyone who’s coming back to church today,
for your first Communion,
I hope you feel at home
because I know God wants you to feel at home, here, today:
God who has never ignored us,
who has never for a moment forgotten any of us,
God who has never let one of us slip off his radar screen,
God who watches over us day and night
with eyes of love and a heart of mercy.
So I hope this is a homecoming – not just to a building or a place-
but a coming back to know God and Jesus whom he sent to us.
We’re not the first ones to forgot Jesus.
Just a couple hours
after Jesus prayed for his friends at the Last Supper,
in the gospel we just heard, just a couple hours later,
Judas betrayed him with a kiss,
and Peter denied three times that he even knew Jesus -
whom he’d just had supper with,
and everyone else at that table, within hours of the Last Supper,
ran away in fear and deserted Jesus.
It’s easy to forget God and Jesus
and let him slip from our minds and hearts.
So, I hope this is a homecoming day for everyone here:
a time to reacquaint ourselves with Jesus
who is always ready to welcome us back.
You know, boys and girls, how your families have made a big deal
about your First Communion Day.
You’ve been talking about it, planning it, you’ve got new clothes,
there’s going to be a party!
And that’s wonderful because a First Communion Day
should be a day of joy and celebration!
But in the middle of all this, girls and boys,
do you know what I’m thinking about?
What I’m thinking about your Second Communion Day
and when that’s going to be.
And I hope and pray
your Second Communion day is a week from today:
not a month from today, not a year from today,
not next Christmas or Easter, not when it’s time to be confirmed,
but I hope your Second Communion Day is next week
and then your Third Communion Day, your Fourth Communion Day
– I hope you have a lifetime of Communion days
because the more we come back to Communion
the less likely it is that we will forget or ignore God and Jesus.
But here’s the catch, boys and girls
Somebody older than you drove you here today.
You didn’t walk.
You had to rely on someone to drive you here.
And even though someone else did the driving, boys and girls,
in a real way it was YOU who brought these people to church today.
And I thank you for that. And god thanks you for that.
And God welcomes
all the people you brought to church with you today.
There are a lot of people in church today who wouldn’t be here today
if it weren’t for you, boys and girls.
So I pray for all of us
to remember not to forget,
to pay attention to, not to ignore,
and to tune in on our radar screens on the presence of God
who loves us, who never ignores us, who always remembers us
and who invites us to his table today.
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