Homily for May 1

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

Audio for Homily

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
where they can speak, share and entrust their word
without fear of ridicule or rejection…
They’re looking for hearts in which their word
will be respected, reverenced and treasured…

We all seek hearts willing to receive and keep our word
because the giving and receiving of one’s word
creates bonds of friendship, love and intimacy…
And Jesus is looking for hearts
that will receive and keep his word…
Keeping someone’s word in my heart is not always easy,
certainly not something to be taken lightly.

Keeping another’s word requires:
attentiveness, care, vigilance, loyalty,
and a strength that is gentle
and a gentleness that is robust.

To keep someone’s word in my heart
is to be attuned, even to be obedient to its presence there.

To keep another’s word
is 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 weaken the spirit of the sharing
and damage the bond we had created…

When you keep someone’s word in your heart
 (and certainly when you keep the Lord’s word
in your heart)
you don’t know how or 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 that 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 a word we want to share,
a word we hope another will keep for us…

And Jesus seeks just the same kind of hearts in each of us.
I might ask myself then, you might ask yourself:
what word of mine
have I entrusted to the heart of Jesus for safe-keeping
and what word of his heart has he asked me to  keep?

One word he asks all of us to keep, is love,
a word calling us to put him and 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,
and often it’s 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 place 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 simply the absence of conflict,
rather, his peace is the fullness of his presence:
a presence of trust, strength, vision and hope so great
that no conflict or fear can overwhelm it.

His peace dwells in the hearts of those
who hear and keep his word…

Is this not the kind of peace we all long for
in the conflicts, troubles, problems and worries
that burden and crowd our hearts?

If we would find and have and keep such peace
then we need to keep the word of Jesus
and he will make his home in our hearts
to be our peace when our hearts are 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 will come to dwell in us
when we receive his presence and peace
in 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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