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Mass of Thanksgiving

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Photo courtesy of Jen Vazquez

May 1, 2019
Jeremiah 1:4-9
Psalm 42
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
John 21:15-19

Aging seems to be highly overrated.

It is not great growing old…or being old, once you have arrived there. I now know why people retire – so they have time to visit their doctors.

“When you grow old,” as we just heard…

“when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you really do not want to go.”

I have had some experience of that lately!!

But to stop there, with this description of Peter’s helplessness, would obscure the real message of this passage

For when Jesus had said this to Peter, Jesus quickly added: “Follow me.”

Follow me!  This is the call heard by the bewildered Jeremiah, who protested that he was too young.

It is the call echoed by the Apostle Paul, the call of the Lover to the beloved: “Love!” And in loving, we follow.

From the first biblical stories of Adam and Eve, all the way to the New Creation that is in Christ, the Lord, through the ordinariness of nature and the extraordinariness of super-nature, through all of this, our Lord has invites us – and all of humanity – to follow, and so to be with Him.

You and I have been initiated into this by our birth and by our baptismal birth, sharing membership in the human family and, as sisters and brothers in the Lord, in the family of the Church.

We have been strengthened by the fruit of field and farm, by the Living Word, and by the One Whose Body and Blood nourishes and sustains believers for the journey to unending life.

And we have been encouraged to become what we receive, to become what we eat: The Body and Blood of the Lord.

In joy and hope, in grief and anxiety, like the clarion call in calm and in tumult, the Lord has wanted only that we follow Him, by the nature of our baptismal lives and our ministry, to be living signs and instruments of God’s peace at work in our world. And God knows we need that peace today.

Yes, each of us has, at one time or another, felt like Jeremiah…too young and inexperienced, inadequate for the task.

But resistance, as they say, is futile.  If we walk the Lord’s path, we need not blaze a new trail, but only remain faithful to the one that he sets before us.

And we have felt like Peter…a denier and, seemingly, a failure…yet still loving the Lord.

Those who honestly face their own weaknesses are better able, I believe, to appreciate forgiveness and love.

We do not rejoice in our own goodness, but in the good that God is working in each of us.

Our lives are not about blowing a horn to display our virtues, to invite the praise of others…

Young or old, or in between…the challenge and opportunity is to be neither a resounding gong nor clashing cymbal, but to put on Christ, to put on love that is not jealous, not pompous, not inflated, not rude, nor self-seeking, quick-tempered or brooding. Rather, love is patient, kind, believing, hoping and enduring.

My episcopal motto,  “Together in Christ,” has always been for me more than a catchy slogan or a tag-line for the Annual Diocesan Appeal. And God knows it has been used for that!

But in truth I believe that in our togetherness, in the common life we share as the People of God, we allow ourselves to be led by the Lord Jesus.

Coming “Together in Christ” is possible only in the bond of charity, which puts the needs of others before our own, placing as central in all of our efforts the compassion, love, and self-emptying of the Lord.  To be together in Christ is to put on Christ in a way that it is truly He who lives in us.

Being “Together in Christ” urges us in ways of civil dialogue, even when we agree about absolutely nothing, giving due consideration to the opinion of the other and the dignity of that person, especially when you believe how completely wrong they are.

And being “Together in Christ” means that “Zeal for the Lord’s House” consumes us and will continue to do so, God willing, for many years to come.

You and I have a new Bishop, a new shepherd.

Since I first knew of his appointment last July, I have given thanks to God for Bishop Oscar Cantú, in whom I have come to know a loving, thoughtful, wise and caring pastor who will lead this local Church with integrity and fidelity to the Lord.

Last midnight, Bishop Oscar became the Third Bishop of San Jose.

I congratulate him…and you…I pledge to him my support as I know that you will do the same.

Pray for our new Bishop…and please continue to pray for the old one, who will always be praying for you.

And May God bless us all, now and always.

Amen.

 

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