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Homily (Sixth Sunday of Easter – Year B)

Posted by frmac on May 16, 2009

The first Christians did not think that Gentiles were to be included in God’s plan of salvation. So when Peter visited the house of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion,  and God’s spirit was poured out on all, Luke tells us this Sunday that “the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded.” This says to me that they were astonished, taken back, surprised, and mystified by what happened, and when they left that house that day their minds were baffled and confused. Imagine the response, disbelief and even admonishment they must have experienced as they told the story to their friends and family that night. Some probably replied, “Don’t be silly.” Others probably thought they had lost their minds.

When Jesus said he would send the “The Spirit of Truth,” he meant it, but when it happens we are usually surprised and possibly closed minded. Why? Well I think it has something to do with thinking we sort of know most of the answers, and find it difficult when we discover otherwise. The Challenge for all of us is to be good and sincere followers of Christ, and at the same time have the wisdom, openness, and humility to hear and respond to God’s Spirit.

This past week the Holy Father has been on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In my opinion he deserves an A+ for effort. Every word, and every gesture has been analyzed thoroughly – nothing went unnoticed – and what he didn’t do and say were just as important as what he did do and say. I’m sure he’ll breathe a great sigh of relief and tiredness when he gets home. If we try our best, all that we can do is rely on God’s Spirit to do the rest. In some way this happened  on May 15th in Nazareth. Here is a picture that captured the moment:

Inter faith Hymn

Believe it or not, amidst all the controversy, this happened.

This picture says it all as far as I am concerned. This is what we hope and pray for everyday and for one brief moment in Nazareth on May 15th, 2009 God’s peace was celebrated. According to Reuters it was an impromptu moment started by a Rabbi singing, “Shalom, Salaam, Lord Grant us Peace.” Within moments Jews, Christians, and Moslems held hands in a song of joy and peace. John Allen of the NCR describes the event this way: “The setting was an inter-faith meeting among Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Druze in Nazareth. Toward the close of the meeting, a song specially composed for the occasion was performed: "Salam, Shalom, Lord Grant Us Peace." It was a rousing number, and by the end, the religious leaders on stage were singing along, including the notoriously reserved Benedict XVI. For the last stanza, the rabbis, muftis, sheikhs, and bishops, with the pontiff in the middle of the group, stood on the stage and held hands.”

As we celebrate the Eucharist this Sunday let us pray that God’s Spirit will help make the impossible happen, and that true peace will descend upon the Holy Land.

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