My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
First of all I want to say, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers that are here! What a beautiful day!
It’s wonderful — I guess, first of all, I have to say that we have a little gift for you, as we do every year, and then a blessing for all mothers.
We have, also, this beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima, we’re going to bless it at the end of Mass. It came from Fatima, I understand, Monsieur O’Connell is the one who is coordinating the getting of the statue and also the pilgrimage that is going to go all over the Archdiocese to celebrate the hundred anniversary of the apparition to Our Lady of Fatima.
So it’s wonderful to see all of you together today with your families. As we know, we are a family of families in the Church. A family of God.
So today is a good day for us to show our love for our mothers and our gratitude for their love. We pray for our mothers who are with us, and our mothers who have gone before us to heaven.
And let’s pray today, also, for all mothers and especially women who are expecting to be mothers. May they grow in strength and faith and may they grow closer to Our Blessed Mother Mary — who is the model for every mother and every believer.
As I was talking about Our Lady of Fatima, as we know, Pope Francis was in Fatima this Friday and Saturday to celebrate that 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Blessed Mother in Fatima. It was, as we know, on May 13, 1917.
And as we know, Pope Francis canonized two of the young children who saw her — Francisco and Jacinta. So I was thinking that today we should especially entrust all mothers to those two new saints, and obviously to Our Lady of Fatima. May they intercede for each one of you and for all mothers in the world — that you have the protection of Mary Our Blessed Mother.
In our readings today, once again, call us to share in the excitement of those first disciples who saw Jesus Christ raised from the dead.
The first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, is like an update, or like a report, on the growth of the early Christian community.
We heard the good news: “the number of disciples continued to grow”; “the Word of God continued to spread, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly.”
And we see the Twelve, the apostles who are the leaders of the Church, making adjustments to handle all this growth. In fact, what we heard described this morning in that first reading is, in a practical way, the first ordination of Permanent Deacons in the Church.
And what is important for us, my dear brothers and sisters, is to understand “how” the Church grows. How the faith spreads.
And the key point there, is it happens not because of anything we do. Because the principle of growth in the Church is not human — it is divine! The Church grows through the work of the Holy Spirit.
As you know, this season of Easter is a time when we have Confirmations all over the Archdiocese and most diocese in the United States have confirmation during this time.
It’s beautiful to see the action of the Holy Spirit in the life of the young men and women who received the Sacrament of Confirmation. That’s the way the Church grows — through the action of the Holy Spirit.
So we have to reflect on that. But then in the second reading, St. Peter tells us that the Church is like a spiritual temple, a “spiritual house” that God is building with “living stones.”
And my dear brothers and sisters, we are those “living stones” that St. Peter is talking about. Every one of us is very important to the building up of this spiritual house, the Church.
This is the way we should think about our lives.
As we look around in our Cathedral this morning — we see that it is made from stone, and glass and marble and wood. It is beautiful.
But what St. Peter is telling us is that the true Church — is not a building. The true Church is a spiritual house. And God is building his Church with us. We are God’s “building materials.” Each of us is a living stone.
That’s our vocation. That’s our call. That’s the Christian call. That’s what we are called to do — to be really living stones, building up the Church, the family of God on earth.
But we have to notice also that St. Peter says — in the second reading of today’s Mass he tells us that the “cornerstone” — the foundation of the Church — is Jesus Christ.
St. Peter tells us:
Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings
but chosen and precious in the sight of God,
and, like living stones,
let yourselves be built into a spiritual house. …
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone
Come to him! Come to Jesus, the living stone! Build your life on his foundation! Isn’t that another call to conversion? Because isn’t our Catholic faith — our Christian life an ongoing conversion? Come to him. Come to Jesus — the living stone.
So this is a reminder, again, that everything in our lives — everything in the Church — begins with Jesus Christ, who is risen and lives now with us.
St. Peter is calling us again — to build our lives on Jesus, to come to the living stone who is the cornerstone.
And for that, as we heard in today’s passage of the Gospel, we need faith, a strong faith. The Apostles, in today’s passage of the Gospel, we heard about Thomas and Philip — that interesting conversation between Jesus and the Apostles, and the interventions of St. Thomas and St. Philip.
They were not sure, they kind of liked what was happening — but they wanted certainty. They wanted a clear sign to have total certainty that they were investing in a good business — to put it in current terms.
St. Thomas said, “How can we know the way?” And St. Philip said, “Show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
And Jesus tells them, in today’s Gospel:
Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
Faith is the key to everything! We need to pray every day, but especially in this time of Easter, like the Apostles: “Lord, increase our faith!” Asking for our faith to become really strong.2
Jesus is telling us that if we have faith in him, if we really make him the foundation — the way and the truth and the life — then we will be on the road to God. Then we will start to feel God’s love and compassion — working in our lives.
So, this week, as we are going back to work, to school, to our homes — let us all make a new effort to come to Jesus Christ as the “cornerstone” — the solid rock. Let us ask for the grace to follow his way and his truth. Let us continue to walk with Jesus, building our lives on his foundation. Building up the spiritual house of the Church, knowing that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life.
And let us ask Mary Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Fatima, to help us along the way — the beautiful way that is always with Jesus and always is leading us to our Father’s House
2. Luke 17:5.