FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER 2014

Homily ·Easter
By Archbishop Gomez
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
May 18, 2014


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1

As I was saying, today is a special day, as we our brothers and sisters into full initiation into the family of God, the Church — through the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is a special day of grace as you receive the Holy Spirit sacramentally, as you receive Confirmation.

You were asked by the Church to be faithful to the teachings of Christ. And you also renew personally your decision to belong to the Catholic Church. So it is indeed a special day of grace for all of you and for all of us that are here as witness of this special moment in your lives.

The first reading of today’s Mass, from the Acts of the Apostles, talks about the action of the Holy Spirit in the life of the first Christian community, specifically about the choosing of the first Deacons. We can see that that action of the Holy Spirit in still happening and is part of our life as Catholics.

Then St. Peter, in the second reading of today’s Mass, tell us: Jesus has called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.

My dear brothers and sisters, this is the joy of Easter, the joy of the Church: Christ is risen. And he is the light of the world. He has risen out of the darkness of death — and he gives each of us the chance to walk in his light. His wonderful light.

That is also what Jesus is talking about in our Gospel reading today — what it means to walk with him.

Jesus today is telling his disciples, and to all of us, that he is going to heaven, to his Father’s house. And he makes us a beautiful promise. He says there are many dwelling places in heaven, many rooms in his Father’s house.

But even though he makes this great promise, as we just heard in the passage of the Gospel today, the disciples are still nervous. They don’t really understand. They’re worried about what’s going to happen when Jesus goes away, when they can’t see him anymore. So they start asking him all kinds of questions.

So we heard St. Thomas ask him, basically, “Lord, we don’t know the way to heaven, so how can we get there?”

And then we heard St. Philip asking another question. He was kind of wanting to find a “short cut.” So he says: “Jesus, just show us the Father! Show us where we can find God and we’ll be ok.” He didn’t say exactly that, but that’s the way he would say it if he would be today here. “Show us how to find God, and we’ll be okay.”

My brothers and sisters, those are the real questions we all have. We want to know how to lead a good life, how to get to heaven.

I’m sure that we have all heard about that movie “Heaven Is For Real.” That’s what we all want to know. We want to know that God is real, we want to see his face. We want to know that he is with us. We want to know that his promises are real.

So the questions we hear from the disciples in our Gospel today, are just normal, ordinary questions that we all would like to ask.

And Jesus gives us the answers we need. We heard his beautiful words that are so familiar to us:

I am the way and the truth and the life …
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.

So my brothers and sisters, this is the answer to every question. We have just to follow Jesus. He is the only One who can lead us to God, because he is perfect God and perfect man.

So once again today, especially for all of you receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, but for all of us, once again, we are called to get to know Jesus better. He will show us the way to God. He will show us that God is real. And he will show us how to live so that we can follow him to heaven. And the way of Jesus, and we know this, is a way of love.

Jesus is calling us to a live of love and service, always doing God’s will and serving others. Healing them. Showing them mercy and love. But no doubt that it is a big challenge for us. But we have the gifts of the Holy Spirit that you are sacramentally receiving today.

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, right judgement, courage, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are qualities given to the soul which makes the soul responsive to the movement of grace. And helps us to practice virtue. To have good habits that become an ordinary thing for us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They make us all to be ready and on fire, for that we really need to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit that is always talking to us. And in a gentle way the Holy Spirit is guiding us to get closer to Jesus and to have that wonderful life that we are called to have.

So listening and following the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to have that close personal relationship with Jesus, which, we heard today, the way, the truth and the life, and he will take us to the Father.

This is, my dear brothers and sisters, the amazing, beautiful reality of our faith. That this extended throughout time, from the passage of the Gospel that we heard today to the first deacons that we heard in the first reading to today, that you are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, and then going all the way to heaven, so we are all united in the Communion of Saints.

So today, as we give thanks for the grace of God and open our hearts and our souls to the Holy Spirit, let us ask Mary, our Blessed Mother for her intercession, that all of you receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation renew your faith. And as you start a new life, a life of faith that fills your whole life with meaning, that you be really excited and joyful in knowing that God is with you. That you have the gifts of the Holy Spirit and that you are called to have that personal, intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

And for all of us, let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help us to really live our Christian lives, so that every day, we are making Jesus our way, our truth and our life.

1. Readings (Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A): Acts 6:1-7; Ps. 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19; 1 Pet. 2:4-9; John 14:1-12.

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