Sunday, May 17, 2020
This is my homily from today’s Mass, the Sixth Sunday in the Easter Season. My homily is based on the Gospel: John 14:15-21
Was there ever a time in your life when you felt like an orphan?
Maybe you actually were an orphan…maybe you are feeling like an orphan in these days…
My orphan moment happened in 1998 when mother died at the age of 89.
My father had died a few years before in 1989 at the age of 87.
When my mother died, there I was, at the age of 50, feeling like an orphan. Both of my parents were now dead. I was an orphan.
Another feeling that I had for the first time in my life was the realization that there was now no other generation between me and death…my grandparents were gone, my parents were gone. Me and my generation were next.
The “orphan” feeling didn’t last long though. As soon as I reminded myself of my siblings and other extended family and friends, the feeling of being alone evaporated.
I also reminded myself of my faith community – of my sisters and brothers in Christ.
Being a part of not only a local faith community, but being a part of a global faith community brought much comfort.
I was not alone! The words of Jesus came alive: “I will not leave you orphans.”
I am the youngest of six children.
Since the time of my mother’s death, my four brothers have died and my sister is in an Assisted Living Facility with dementia. She no longer knows who I am.
I am the last of the six. The orphan feeling came back just a bit when my last brother died.
But then I reminded myself of my sisters-in-law, all my nieces and nephews, and other extended family and friends.
I reminded myself of my faith community, local and global.
The words of Jesus were now once again echoing in my head: “I will not leave you orphans!”
“I will not leave you orphans…I will come to you…I will live in you and you will live in me.”
As people of faith, as disciples of Jesus, we are never alone…we are never orphaned…
We are alone…we are orphans only if we choose to be alone, if we choose to be an orphan.
When we refuse to let Jesus into our lives, when we refuse to live as He calls us to live…when we are not faithful to His commandments then, we are alone…we are orphans.
When we invite Jesus into our lives, we become members of faith family that is local and global and Jesus says to us:
“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.”
We are bonded and connected not only to Jesus, but also to all others who invite Jesus into their lives.
We are never alone. We are never orphans!
In these days of the pandemic, it may be difficult to resist the temptation of falling into that dark place, that dark pit of feeling alone, feeling disconnected, feeling like an orphan.
Let the words of Jesus be our Mantra: “I will not leave you orphans…I will not leave you orphans.”
In the future when we will gather together once again in Church, I know that in the foreseeable future, our “Sign of Peace” will be different…there will not be the shaking of hands, the hugs, and the kisses.
There will be the need for social distancing…we may want to borrow a gesture from the Hindu religion. We turn to one another at a distance, we bow to one another, and we say “Namaste” which means: “I bow to the divine within you.”
With that gesture and that word, we recall the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you.”
When we choose for Jesus, we choose not to be alone, not to be an orphan.
It is Jesus who binds us and connects us to each other and creates a Faith Family, locally and globally.
Let the words of Jesus be our Mantra in these days: “I will not leave you orphans…I will not leave you orphans…I will not leave you orphans.”