Homily for May 10


Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter
(Scriptures for today's  Mass)

Audio for homily

(At the Masses I preached this weekend we were welcoming children receiving the Eucharist for the first time, thus the focus of my homily...)

Boys and girls: I know you all have friends
and maybe some of you have best friends.
I’m wondering: how do you stay friends with your friend?

Let’s say my best friend’s name is Bill:
how would I stay friends with Bill?

• Well, of course I’d hang out with Bill
and I’d hope that Bill would want to spend time with me.

• I’d talk with Bill. And I’d listen to Bill.
And I’d want Bill to listen to me, too.

• I’d let Bill know when I’m happy
and I’d let him know when I’m feeling sad.

• I’d want to be there for Bill when he needed me
and I’d hope Bill would be there for me, too.

• Certainly I would never want to do anything to hurt Bill
and I’d trust that he would never want to hurt me.

• And I’d get together with Bill, maybe for dinner
and we’d spend time together sharing a meal.

I’m pretty sure those are the ways 
you stay friends with your friend.
And I’m thinking about all this
as I listen to what Jesus said in the gospel we just heard.
Jesus wants to be best friends with each of you
– and with all  of us here.
Here are Jesus' own words:
 “I love you and I call you my friends. Remain in my love.”
Remain Stay in my love… don’t leave my love.
Stay friends with me… 

In a lot of ways, staying friends with Jesus
is like my staying friends with Bill.

• If I want to stay friends with Jesus, 
I need to spend time with him.

• I need to talk to Jesus in my prayers
and trust that he hears me and listens to me;
that he wants to know when I’m happy
and he wants to know when I’m sad.

• And I need to listen to what Jesus might want to say to me:
in my prayers, in the bible and especially at Mass.

• To be friends with Jesus means I try never to hurt him,
and to remember that when I hurt others, I hurt Jesus, too,
because Jesus lives in all the people around me.

• And to be a friend of Jesus 
I need to do what he asks me to do,
especially when he asks me to help other people,
to forgive other people, to be kind to other people.

• And yes, to be friends with Jesus
means getting together with him for dinner
– or, as we say in church, for supper
to celebrate the Last Supper
as Jesus did with his friends on the night before he died.

And that’s just what we’re doing right now, today.
We came to the altar, to Jesus’ table, 
to have Supper with him,
to share in the food of the Eucharist, in Holy Communion.

We come together here to thank God that Jesus is our friend,
that he’s the best and most faithful friend we’ll ever have.
He told us in the gospel today 
that no friend can love you more
than to lay down his life for you.
And that’s just what our friend Jesus did for us.
He gave his life for us on the Cross: 
ever a faithful friend to us
who are so often unfaithful friends to him.

What makes this day so very special for you, boys and girls,
is that it’ the first time YOU have an opportunity
to be best friends with Jesus in Holy Communion.
Of course, we grown-ups here
became friends with Jesus in Communion
years and years ago and through all those years,
Jesus has wanted to stay friends with us,
with every single one of us  
 – and for us to “remain in his love…”

But along the way, some may have lost touch Jesus,
Perhaps they haven’t come to visit very often,
dropping by just once or twice a year.

But, you know,
even if we have not remained friends faithful to Jesus,
he has always remained a friend faithful to us.
No matter how far we may have drifted away from him,
he has never left our side.
He’s the best friend any of us could ever hope to have:
he never lets us down, he never leaves us: 
he remains with us…

So if today, at this First Communion Mass,
some here are renewing their friendship with Jesus
be sure that he’s as happy to see you come back to his table
as we are happy to see these children come to the altar
- for the first time.

Boys and girls, we’re going to pray today
that you’ll stay best friends with Jesus   
- for your whole life.

And we’re pray for any grown-up boys and girls
who are renewing their friendship with Jesus today,
the most faithful friend they’ll ever have.

And we pray that together, young and old,
we’ll all remain in Jesus’ love
grateful that he remains in us, always. 


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