My last homily at Holy Family Parish in Concord

Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter
Scriptures for today's Mass

This weekend included my last Sunday masses in Concord after
25 years.  Here's my homily on video, followed by an audio-only 
version, followed by the text.  I'd  especially encourage you to 
watch the video or listen to the audio for the song with which
my homily closes.


Seated at the Last Supper table, on the night before he died,
Jesus told to his friends,
“I will be with you only a little while longer…”

As it happens, I can say the same thing to you today
“I will be with you only a little while longer”
and then I’ll be in my new assignment in Belmont.

And it also happens that this day, May 19, is my ordination anniversary.
Forty-six years ago today,
Cardinal Humberto Medeiros laid his hands on my head.

And he ordained me to preach the Word of God
and to shepherd God’s people - to this Table.

I was ordained to gather you here, week after week on the Lord’s Day
• to break open the bread of the scriptures
to find wisdom and strength
• and to break the Bread and bless the Cup
to feed our hearts and souls with the very life of Jesus in Communion.

I have loved meeting you at the Lord’s Table these past 25 years
and I will miss meeting you at this table
when I leave Concord at the end of this month.

But you will, I trust and pray,
you will continue to come to this Table
• to be strengthened by the One
who truly is the One who gathers you here,
• to be fed by the One who have his life for you on the Cross,
• to meet here the Risen Jesus in the Bread and Cup of the Eucharist.

I pray you’ll continue to do that.

And I, on the Lord’s Day, at another altar in another church,
will, on Sundays, go to the Table,
where I will  offer praise and thanksgiving
for the wisdom and the peace Jesus offers us in our worship:
you in Concord, I in Belmont.

Twenty-five years ago I was a new guy in town.
But over a quarter of a century, through the grace of God
and through my share in the ministry of Jesus,
and through the faith you and I hold in common,
this parish and town have become my home
and you have become my family.

The bonds that tie us together are considerable:
they are the bonds of home and family,
the bonds of grace and mercy,
the bonds of word and sacrament,
the bonds of friendship and love.

All this joins us together and make us one:
we are not just as pew-mates in the house of the Lord,
we are soul-mates in the Lord’s heart.

In fact, we believe and profess that the bonds that join us
are stronger than death.

Nothing less than that is at the heart of the Easter message:
the bond of faith is stronger than death.

If the grace that binds us as one is this strong
- it’s certainly not unreasonable to believe
that you and I can and will survive anything, including
my departure as your pastor
and Fr. Silva’s arrival as your new pastor -
we will all get through this intact, in one piece.

We can do that and we will do that.

Yet, as Shakespeare said:  Parting is such sweet sorrow.
it’s the parting brings the sorrow,
while the sweetness is found
in the hope of meeting again…

Let’s then listen again at Jesus’ words in today’s gospel:

I will be with you only a little longer… love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.

And allow me to paraphrase the Lord’s words for our purposes here.

Brothers and sisters, I’ll only be your pastor a little while longer
and only for that same brief time
will you be the people of my parish.   
So let us love one another - and love others, too.
As you have loved me as our pastor
so are you called to love Fr. Silva -
whom you haven’t yet met.

And as I have loved you as my parish, so am I called
to love the people of St. Luke’s and St. Joseph’s in Belmont
- whom I am yet to meet.

And this is how you and I will know
- and how others will know -
that the bond we’ve shared for 25 years is of God,
that it’s true,
that it’s forged like steel in the furnace of divine love,
that it’s guaranteed by our faith in the Risen Jesus
and that it finds its greatest joy in serving others.

We can and we will be confident in the bond we share
if our love reaches out to others
because love is strengthened, not weakened,
in our giving it away and sharing it with others -
especially with those whom we have not yet met.

• What a loss it would be if our parting found us locked in the past,
unable or unwilling to carry forward the best of all we’ve
known, shared, celebrated, enjoyed and prized together.

• What a waste it would be if in grieving our separation
we were to forget and leave behind
all we’ve done and accomplished and become
over a quarter of a century.

• What a shame it would be if the sorrow of our parting
left us in a place of sadness,
and found us drifting away from this Table
and from the work of this parish’s life.

Our faith, our Easter faith, our faith in the Risen Jesus teaches us
that in facing all things - even in facing death -
we are called to rise up out of our grief and to embrace what lives
and hold fast to the love we’ve known and shared
until we know the sweetness of meeting again.

Forty-six years ago today
I was ordained to pray with you at the Lord’s Table.

That’s what I’ve done, that’s what you’ve done with me,
for 25 years
and that’s what we’re called to do for the rest of our lives.

May the Lord who loved us first,
the Lord who speaks to our minds and hearts,
the Lord who sets this table and invites us to join him here,
the Lord who gave himself for us on the Cross
and gives himself to us yet again today,
his Body broken for us as bread,
his Blood poured out for us, as from a cup,
the Lord who has brought us together as pastor and people:
may this same Lord teach us to love another as he has loved us
so that all may know that you and I, we are one, ever one,
bound together, bonded, in the love of the Risen Jesus.

For, in the end,
it’s not about me.
And in the end it’s not about you.
And in the end it’s not even about you AND me.

In the end, it’s all about Jesus
and who we are, together, in him.

1) In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
you can have all this world,
give me Jesus.

2) Oh, and when we are apart, give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
you can have all this world,
give me Jesus.

3) Oh, and when we meet again
oh, how sweet to meet again, give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
you can have all this world,
give me Jesus.


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!