Second Sunday of Easter Homily

Posted on Apr 25, 2017


23 April 2017


Thirty Five years ago this spring I buried by great Aunt.

She was the last of her generation.

All of us who gathered for her funeral were very much aware that with her death

we lost our last living link with the “Old Country.”

My grandfather, his brothers and one sister all came here from Poland.

They were the ones who kept alive for us our connection with Poland.

As a young child I remember sitting through family gatherings hearing stories of the Old Country.

Stories about fruit trees that lined the way into town, about the faith of the people.

When my aunt died we no longer had that direct link with Poland.

There was no one of us who remembered what it looked like there from having seen it.

No one who knew the smells of spring, or autumn or summer.

I tell you all t his to give you some insight into what is happening in today’s gospel.

As far as scripture scholars can tell John’s gospel commemorates the passing of a generation.

The people of the community that John’s gospel grew out of saw the last living link with Jesus, die.

The death of that last living link with Jesus prompted them to write this gospel

and in the writing to give us the final beatitude of Jesus:

“Blest are they who have not seen and have believed.”

Several years ago on Holy Saturday I spent some time calling friends.

Mostly people my own age.

I am friends with them not because I am a priest, but because of our shared history.

Most of these people started out Catholic but over the years have drifted away.

I don’t know what came over me that Saturday

but for the first time ever I pressed them about their “church-going.”

They all had some reason for their abstinence from church.

I began to wonder what would keep  alive the link with them, with the church.

Even more, what would keep alive the link for their children.

I of course don’t know the answer.

I suppose for a while I will be the living link with the church for them.

But even I must pass away.

As it is you and I are, quoting Cardinal Suenens:

The only Gospel some people will ever read.

We carry the responsibility for keeping alive the memory of Jesus,

of being the church that is his living body.

That is not an easy responsibility,

nor is it something we should take very lightly.