The 5th Sunday of Easter – The Homily
Lent, with its very clear practices and disciplines, is over. So what do we do to keep our spiritual edge during Easter? This seems especially relevant in light of today’s readings where the themes seem to be:
Allowing the Lord to Confirm the path we’re on
Receiving the Consolation of the Spirit to assure us that we’re moving in the right direction
Simply Remaining in Relationship as the key to this
While no reference is made to a particular methodology, the “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults” (or RCIA) might provide us a model and some direction in terms of a spiritual Easter program:
- Lenten purification,
It’s on this period of Mystagogia that I’d like to focus. There are a number of steps in the Mystagogia period of RCIA that lead to an effective, personal transition of the person into a new and deeper relationship with Christ. Likewise, there are steps to an effective Easter for us to REMAIN in the Lord to receive CONFIRMATION that we are on the right path, and His CONSOLATION:
- FOCUS on the Feast. Focus is a mental exercise. This means an engagement in the mental exercise of prayer and discernment. Are you engaged in a particular spiritual, liturgical, devotional practice that is distinctly Easter-like in its flavor?
- Example: Our Lady’s Message of Mercy to the World for May.
- Be ROOTED in the Rites. Full physical participation in the life and mission of the Church = “church stuff.” Figure out how to “practice” this new, ongoing, Easter way of life within our community of faith.
- Example: “Jesus – Priest, Prophet, King” series by Fr. Robert Barron. Three consecutive Tuesday’s after daily Mass.
- INTEGRATE the “Real” and “Spiritual” where the spiritual quest of the adult is part and parcel of real and everyday life = “work stuff.” Font leads to The Table. Table leads to the Mission.
- Example, stop by the church on another day besides Sunday. Spend a few minutes away from the noise and phones and electronics in the quiet, cool darkness of the sacred space. Simply tell god what’s driving you nuts at home, at work, in your life. Bring to mind at least one blessing that you have received over the past week.
One final thought concerning Mystagogia. Remember I mentioned in the beginning about maintaining a spiritual edge during Easter? How do you know you’re doing it right? You receive Confirmation and Consolation from God based on simply Remaining in the Relationship with Christ. Consider this week’s scripture readings:
This week’s Gospel: John 15:1-8 – A branch bears fruit if it remains on the vine.
This week’s Second Reading: 1 John 3:18-24 – The way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.
This week’s First Reading: Acts 9:23-31 – The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
It NOT about what you’re doing – it’s about what GOD is doing. EXPECT the Impossible, EXPECT the mystical. EXPECT prayers to be answered during this Season of Easter.
There is a distinctive spirit and power of this liturgical season where the Holy Spirit will be responsive to the individuality of the person, the movement of the Spirit in that person’s life, and the particular community to which that person is called. (See “Six Steps to Effective Mystagogia”)
We have confidence in God and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we simply believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 3:22)
The Audio version of the homily is here: