Sunday, May 21, 2017

If You Love Me...

This homily was for First Holy Communion today...which will explain the question & answer/outline format...

   Sixth Sunday of Easter   A 

Do your parents love you?  Yes.
How do you know?  Food, clothing, shelter, teaching…  They care for me.

Do you love your parents?  Yes.
How do they know?   I obey them.
Is it always easy to obey?  No.

But it is easier to obey when we know we are loved—when we can trust the person who asks us to obey, isn’t it?

Does Jesus love you?  Yes.
How do you know?  He gives me everything I need.  He cares for me.

And the greatest way Jesus shows his love for us is right here in front of us: his Cross.  That’s the biggest, best love the world has ever known: that Jesus was willing to die for us.  That’s what we are celebrating during this Easter time: that Jesus died and rose again to take away our sins so that we can live with him forever.

Do you love Jesus?  Yes.
How does he know?  I obey him.

Jesus says to us in the gospel today, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

Is it always easy to obey the commandments?  No.

But just like with mom and dad, it is easier to obey because we know that Jesus loves us.  We can trust him.  He knows what is best for us, and whatever he asks is meant to keep us safe and make us happy.

Jesus has given us many commandments to follow.  There are two I want us to think about today.

[1] After Jesus rose from the dead, on the day he’s returning to heaven, he tells his friends: “Go and teach all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19).  Jesus gives a commandment that those who believe in him be baptized.  You were baptized, right?  And your baptism comes with a mission: to tell other people about Jesus—to tell them about his love so that they can love him, too.  That job belongs to all of us.

[2] On the night before he died, when Jesus shared a Last Supper with his friends, he took bread and wine and said, “Do this in memory of me” (1Cor 11:23-25).  Jesus gives a commandment that those who believe in him should come together with others who love him.  And that’s what we do today, that’s what we do every Sunday, when we come together for Mass, when we celebrate the Eucharist, when we receive Holy Communion.

Telling others about Jesus and coming to church on Sunday are two very special, very important ways we keep the commandments of Jesus and show him that we love him.

But do you know what else?  These two Sacraments—Baptism and Eucharist—are also two ways that Jesus keeps showing his love for us.  They are two ways that Jesus has chosen to remain with us always.

[1] In Baptism, the Holy Spirit comes to be with us.  Jesus promised that he would send the Holy Spirit to teach us the truth and show us the right way.  We cannot see him, but the Holy Spirit is with us always as our Helper.  He leads us to Jesus.

[2] In Holy Communion—which you are about to receive for the first time—Jesus comes to live within us.  We do as Jesus did: we take the bread, and it becomes his Body; we take the wine, and it becomes his Blood.  Regular food and drink goes to our stomach, but through his Body and Blood Jesus goes to stay in our heart.  The Eucharist is Jesus living within us, his love now found in our hearts.

Boys and girls, I know that your parents love you very, very much.  I know that because they brought you to be baptized years ago.  I know that because they prepared you for your first Holy Communion.

But I also know that Jesus loves you even more.  Remember that every time you see his Cross.

And make sure that Jesus knows you love him, too.  He said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”  Remember the commandment he gave to you at your Baptism: your special mission to tell the whole world about his love.  And remember the commandment he gives us about the Eucharist: to come together again and again with him and with one another around his Body and Blood, so that Jesus may live in us now, and we may live with him forever.

No comments: