Homily – May 6, 2018

There is a psalm that sings; ‘this is the day the Lord has made let us be glad and rejoice.’ The church sings, this is the season the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad.’ Most people think of Easter as lasting a day but the church sees Easter as lasting a season, it is not a one day event, Easter lasts for 50 days, we’ve two other weeks to go before we celebrate the feast of Pentecost which closes our Easter season. We need Easter’s long day because it takes time to grasp and integrate what the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus was all about. What does it mean when Paul tells us; God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself? The frustrated Jesus complained to his disciples, ‘how long have I been with you and still you do not understand.”? He complained to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, ‘O how foolish you are and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets declared . Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and so enter into his glory.’

There is an exercise called ‘theological reflection’ in which we ponder a truth of faith over and over to discover its deeper meaning. We can compare it to a kaleidoscope, it is made up of a set number of colored glasses and with each twist of the tunnel of the kaleidoscope we get a whole new pattern of color. In reflecting on a truth of our faith we might come to another and deeper meaning of that truth than we had before. Reflecting on the sufferings of Jesus we might come to see, in a way we never did before, that in his passion Jesus is telling us, ‘I can’t stop loving you. You may neglect or ignore of doubt my love for you, you may fail to return my love, but I can’t stop loving you.

In our first reading from Acts we hear of St. Peter, the first Pope coming to a deeper understanding of the saving power of Christ’s passion. As a Jewish person he believed his people, the Jewish people were God’s own. Everyone else was excluded. But his faith was challenged when in a dream he saw all kinds of food offered to him to eat. Most of the food was forbidden by Jewish dietary law so Peter refused to eat it only to be told. ‘ What God has made clean you must not call profane.’

Then Peter meets the Gentile centurion named Cornelius. He told Cornelius, ‘You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with of visit Gentiles but God has shown me that I should call any person profane or unclean.’ Then we have the shocking words of Peter and he is blessed with a eureka insight, ‘ I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to God. Then we have Peter’s bold break with his ancient Jewish beliefs,’ can anyone withhold water for baptising these people who have received to Holy Spirit just as we have?

For all of that it took the Jewish members of the early Christian community a number of years to welcome non-Jews into their midst.

We are still in long day of Easter. May we be moved to pray for a deeper understanding of our faith and be open to the embracing love of our crucified Christ for all people and embrace the simple message of our shrine for the victims on Yonge Street – Love for all, hatred for none.