Homily 16th May, 2021

sign pointing alternative ways marked This Way That Way

Homily for the 7th Sunday of Easter, Year B

All today’s readings – just like a week ago – don’t contain much action, and I must admit that I spent quite a lot of time pondering what does God want to tell us through these specific passages and what does He want to inspire us with through them. I think these passages tell us a lot of very interesting things about prayer, they teach us how to pray properly and – what’s more – they give us a great example of perfect prayer.

In the first reading of the Acts of the Apostles, Peter assigned his brothers – that is all the Apostles – to a very specific and responsible task, which in fact, didn’t come from him, but from the Holy Spirit. Brothers – he said – the passage of scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit foretells the fate of Judas… In the Book of Psalms it says: Let someone else take his office. As we heard, it was a very difficult task to find someone who would be able to take over the office of Judas, who – as we remember – after betraying Jesus tragically took his own life. It is true that the Apostles themselves chose two candidates: Joseph and Matthias, but – as we heard further – the final decision was not up to them because at this stage someone else had taken over this difficult matter. The Apostles didn’t organize any democratic elections among themselves to see which of the two candidates won more support or the majority of votes. They didn’t organize any competition or anything like that. Peter and his brothers relied neither on their own intelligence nor on their human wisdom. Moreover, they didn’t argue with each other who is right and who is not. They didn’t fight as we do sometimes when we have different opinions and different views on many things in our homes, at work, in political life and sometimes in the parish as well. Let’s look again at this first reading and let’s see what the Apostles did at this stage of struggling with their dilemma? We could say that they did the best thing they could ever do, because they entrusted this case to someone who is absolutely the most reliable, the most competent and who can always find the best solution to our problems and struggles. As we heard, they used the most beautiful words of prayer that can be a model and example of our daily prayers. Lord, you can read everyone’s heart, show us therefore which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place. Lord, you can read everyone’s heart – not only my own heart, and not only the hearts of people who are always like me in my thinking, who always agree with me and who always share my views. Lord, you can read everyone’s heart!

Let us ask ourselves how many times in our life we ​​had to make difficult decisions, and maybe even more important than Peter and his companions had to make? Some decisions that we face are really difficult and require a lot of our energy, stress and risk, especially all those decisions that affect and shape our future and our whole life, such as the decision to get married, start a family, but also the decision to become a priest or religious sister. Perhaps sometimes we have to make less significant and less important decisions, such as buying a smaller or bigger house, in this particular town or another. Choosing a boyfriend or a girlfriend; choosing a field of study; choosing a profession and job; choosing a car, cheaper or more expensive, of this brand or another; accepting or rejecting the vaccine for one reason or another in the ongoing circumstances of the pandemic. We realize that all these decisions are not very easy and sometimes we need much time to think about it or perhaps we would like to rely on someone who is more experienced and who can be an authority for us. Sometimes we listen to our parents, politicians, bishops, priests, friends, but sometimes we are completely lost and lonely and we have to make our own decisions.

Today’s passage from the Acts of the Apostoles tells us that our happiness and our success don’t depend only on our intelligence and our human abilities, which – as we know from our experience – very often turn out to be unreliable. This reading wants to remind us of Someone who is almighty, very unique and only one. Moreover, this passage invites us to remember this very simple, short and beautiful prayer of the Apostles. And that’s not the end, because this reading invites us to use this or similar prayers in all our difficult dilemmas, when we feel lost, when we don’t know what to do and where to go, and what decision would be the best in this particular situation. Lord, you can read everyone’s heart show us therefore the best way to go and the best decision that we can make.

In today’s Gospel, we’ve heard a slightly different prayer, this time Jesus’ prayer for his Apostles but also for each one of us. Jesus wants to tell us how much he cares about unity and harmony among all his disciples. Father, keep those you gave me true to your name, so that they may be one like us. And the second sentence and request of this prayer which is equally significant: Father, I am asking you protect them from the evil one. And one more: Father, consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. These three things: unity, protection against evil and life in truth – they are like the three greatest desires of Jesus for us, they are like the key words in today’s Gospel. May these three meaningful words contained in this beautiful prayer of Jesus become our personal desire and concern and may they be fulfilled in our daily life. Amen.

Fr Gregory