Homily – May 19, 2019

I imagine that many of you watched last Sunday’s basketball game between the Raptors and the Philadelphia. You watched that basketball pounce once and twice and three times before it fell through the hoop and the Raptors won their well- deserved victory. The place went wild.

The Rogers Centre was filled with men women and children wearing Raptor hats or sweaters and T Shirts showing the Raptors emblem. Everyone wanted to be identified with their team. It’s the same with the Blue Jays and the Leafs. It’s the same in all the cities who have teams in the major sports leagues. People want to be identified with their heroes and when they turn out to be losers, well there’s always next year.

In the early church Paul was annoyed with people who identified themselves with personalities instead of with Christ. Some people said ‘I am of Paul or I am of Apollos or I am of Peter.’ Paul challenges such people with the question, ‘has Christ been divided?’ Was Paul or Apollos or Peter crucified for you? We are all of Christ.

In today’s short gospel Christ lets us know how we are shown to be on his team, identified as being in his corner. ‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciple, if you love one for another.’ That love was not to be restricted to fellow Christians; it was meant to be for everyone who came into their lives, especially those who opposed them, even put them to death.

The greatest compliment they received from others was ‘see how these Christians love on another.’ People observing a Christian community are supposed to be impressed that their kind of mutual service and love can only be explained by a divine presence they came to know in the reality of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Our love for others, our respected for their beliefs, their culture their racial origin, their life style shows other people that we are on Jesus’ team, we want to be identified with him.

This isn’t easy. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. As one spiritual writer wrote; we are always both grand and petty. The world isn’t divided up between big-hearted and small-minded people. Rather our days are divided up between those moments when we are big-hearted, generous, warm, hospitable, unafraid, wanting to embrace everyone and those moments when we are petty, selfish, over-aware of the unfairness of life, frightened, and seeking only to protect ourselves and our own safety and interests. We are both tall and short at the same time and either of these can manifest itself from minute to minute.

That’s why we receive Holy Communion at the Mass. We need the grace and strength and healing power of Christ so that we may always be members of his winning team. May we try to live each day in Christ’s presence, in Christ’s love and in Christ’s