Hi everyone…My preaching schedule has been a bit altered since I’ve been serving as a chaplain for FOCUS Staff Training out here in Champaign, Illinois. Here’s my homily given to the missionaries for SATURDAY OF THE 7th WEEK OF EASTER – June 11, 2011. The Gospel reading comes from the Conclusion of the Gospel of John (can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/nab/061111.shtml) As always, thanks for reading and your feedback
– Fr. Jim
I’m sorry, I should be more respectful – Really St. John?
You close your Gospel with a tease? There are many other things that Jesus did that are not recorded here… it’s like when you were in grade school and you had a book report and you got lazy or bored or just wanted to finish it and just said “I don’t want to spoil the rest of the story for you, you’ll have to read the book yourself.”(Did any of you ever do that? Did any of you ever go out and read the book when someone said that? Me neither.)
But back to St. John… here we are, the end of the Easter Season, the last “day of Easter” as we await the Feast of Pentecost tomorrow. The conclusion to this gospel of John with this kind of tease. My curiosity goes off – What did he leave out? Why? What other amazing things did they see? Experience? Hear? Jesus had been risen and among them in His Resurrected body for 40 days – there had to have been all kinds of remarkable things that had happened. My curiosity gets peaked. Maybe even a bit jealous too. How cool would it have been to be there and see and witness and experience it all first hand.
Curiosity, Jealousy… Isn’t it interesting how they seem to come out of left field? Look at Peter in this same gospel, poor St. Peter.. Last night, we heard that dramatic discussion where Jesus asks Peter 3 times “do you love me…” “do you love me more than these?” And Peter has that deep realization within that he does love Jesus… That’s where we pick up with this Gospel. And what happens? Peter sort of turns it around asking “Jesus do you love me more than these?” Not in those words but look at what happened. Right after Peter confesses his love for Christ, Peter turns and sees St. John, the one described as the disciple whom Jesus loved and he’s no longer thinking about his past denials, his past failures, or even his realization of his deep love for Jesus, he turns and says “what about him?” curiosity – jealousy…
If there’s a silver lining, it reminds us that we’re in good company. How easy it is for each of us to fall into similar thoughts or feelings even when we’re doing things for the Lord. That curiosity and jealousy seems to come when we least expect it: When we see someone who’s able to get their MPD’s together without any problem… when they got that parish talk… got an assignment that we think is better than the one we received… when our bible study isn’t as well attended as someone elses… When our campus isn’t spiritually multiplying but almost seems to be spiritually subtracting… And just to be fair, it happens to us priests too… I look at this chapel, see what an incredibly thriving Catholic Campus Ministry here at the University of Illinois and see what God has been able to do here and definitely feel a bit jealous – our center looks like a shack compared to this place! It happens to all of us, that we can go from wondering why – what’s missing, what remarkable things are happening for someone else. And in the process, we lose our focus and stop thinking about our relationship with Jesus as we fixate on our curiousity about their relationships with Him. And in that, we can become jealous.
And when or if that ever happens, when we look at those things or experiences and start to feel those feelings – we need to recall what Jesus says to Peter… “WHAT CONCERN OF IS IT OF YOURS? YOU FOLLOW ME.”
It’s that blunt. It’s that simple and complex at the same time. Jesus has called each of us to a special, significant task. Called each of us individually, particularly for this task.
We’re not to be comparing where we are in those tasks to others who’ve experienced similar calls.
We’re not to be simply looking at the many things that Jesus is doing elsewhere.
We are to hear Him say to us YOU FOLLOW ME. When we do, we may come to see how unnecessary it is for John to share any more of the “many things Jesus did” that he didn’t include in his Gospel. Because we’ll be solely focused on what Jesus continues to do with and through you and me.