Weekend Homily


© Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church 2019

Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 19, 2019

If we stop to think about how the Church began and its humble origins, its existence today is a testament to the fact that the gates of hell have not and shall not prevail against God’s holy Church, since that which began with the remaining eleven apostles and a handful of disciples has endured for more than twenty centuries and has spread throughout the world despite scandal, heartache and sometimes sinful leadership.  What has given this Church of Jesus Christ its permanence, is its eternal deposit of truth in the Word of God, the true and real presence of Jesus in the sacraments of the Church, most particularly in the Eucharist and the enduring gifts of the Holy Spirit.  These gifts of God and the example of all the holy saints who have lived their lives in dedication to the love of God, allow the Church to continue in holiness and truth to this very day and beyond.  

Reminders like these and many others help us to relate to the gospel for today, where in this Easter Season we are reminded of the betrayal of Judas at the Last Supper, but must more importantly focus through this event of betrayal to how the glory of God will be seen.  The passion of Our Lord brings about the glory of God in redemption.  

As an Easter people this gospel becomes important because once Judas leaves and his betrayal becomes reality, the cross and the glory of the cross lay directly ahead showing the plan of God to bring the holy gift of salvation to the world while offering a profound example of love as our Lord speaks to those who will follow Him in faith and action, about their love for each other and that it must be offered as His love is offered to them.  This doesn’t necessarily mean going to our death for one another, but it means in selfless holiness we need to live the message of Jesus in all we say and do with sincerity of heart and dedication to our Savior.

The thing about this is, not every act of love is easy to live or to give. To realize this, all that is necessary is to look to the example of Jesus Himself, who was betrayed by Judas, was rejected by His own people and had to endure the agony of the cross to make manifest the glory of God and bring salvation to the world.  God’s love for us is eternal and transcendent and yet, it was professed and given to us through pain, suffering and heartache.  

What this says to us as His disciples in the world today, is that apart from the sacrifice of our time in prayer to attend Mass on a weekly basis and pray daily to God for the needs of our lives, many times to live faith takes courage and to respond as Jesus has asked us to, often times means embracing the pain of our own cross first, so that we can enjoy the glory of God which is found as we live our faith in love and offer our suffering as a gift to God in faith and prayer.  As salvation was won through the pain and suffering of Jesus on the cross, who willingly and lovingly suffered for us, so God’s glory can be found in loving one another as Christ has loved us.     

The gospel for today is an opportunity to realize that in faith, even the difficult moments of life, in other words, the crosses of our lives, can lead to great moments of glory.  Even though Jesus knew His betrayer and knew what was going to happen, out of love for us He embraced the cross so that through His suffering all creation might know and experience the glory of God in salvation as Jesus gives us an example in our lives to selflessly embrace our own trials in life, see the glory of God in them and in love offer them to God as a vehicle to grace.  

In imitating the commandment of Jesus to love one another as He has loved us, we cannot afford to be selfish and to only think about how we are going to suffer or what it is going to cost us.  If we are to truly embrace the cross of Christ and to love as He did, then we must do it as our Lord did, and in love seek to imitate Christ in all we say and do.  In this way, our lives become grace filled, we see the glory of God even in times of trial and we live our lives in selfless love showing those who meet us, that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ.

  Rev. John Garcey