In order to give a little bit more context to a reflection on our scripture passages of today, I will share with you one other very short passage from the first letter of St. John, a passage with which we're all familiar. John tells us, "My dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God because God is love. The one who lives in love, lives in God and God lives in them."
The Peace Pulpit
Two people were confirmed during the Mass from which this homily is taken.
Of course, as always, we need to reflect on the scriptures every Sunday, because it's a way of our growing and our understanding of our faith and our relationship with God. When we do that, we want to make sure that we do it within the framework of what we are celebrating. Today, we listen to the scripture in a special way to see how these scriptures teach us something about our lives as baptized and confirmed disciples of Jesus.
I'm sure all of us are very familiar with this feast of Corpus Christi, which means, "Body of Christ," but which we now celebrate as the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Most of us probably wouldn't remember how we developed our spiritual life around the Blessed Sacrament, as we called it. When we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ, we concentrated most of all on what we called the real presence. We had processions in the old days where we even went out into the streets to show Jesus present in the midst of all of us, all people.
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton gave the following homily June 3 for Fr. Michael Donovan, the pastor of St. Donald Parish in Roseville, Mich., who is celebrating his 50th year in the priesthood.
It is, for me, a great honor, privilege and a joy to be here today to celebrate with Father Mike the 50 years that he has given of his life to serve God's people and to serve God as a priest. We all rejoice with Father Mike and give thanks to God for him. He has asked me to, through the reflection today, which I'm very happy to do. ... I spent this week trying to prepare this homily, and I felt very much like I did way back in the 1950s, when I was at St. John's [Provincial Seminary in Michigan] before Father Mike was.
It's very important that we now take a few moments to reflect on the scripture lessons that we've heard today, and to reflect on those lessons in the context of this great feast of Pentecost that we're celebrating, but also, in a way even more in the context of this sacrament of confirmation that we're celebrating. It's very important for these four young people, but also for the rest of us, because it's important that we remind ourselves that each one of us has been baptized and confirmed in the Holy Spirit of Jesus.
I think to begin to get the full impact of what Jesus is teaching us today, it's helpful to go back a little way in this Gospel. During this same Last Supper conversation a few minutes earlier, Jesus had told his disciples, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to God but through me, and if you know me, you know God also. Indeed, you know him and have seen him." Then Phillip, at this point in the conversation, says, "Lord, show us God and that will be enough."
At the end of our first lesson today, St. Luke describes how that first Christian community lived and what was happening to them. He says, "The church was at peace and was built up throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria with eyes turned to God and the church lived, filled with comfort from the Holy Spirit." In a couple of other places in the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke describes how that early Christian community was at peace.
As we listen to today's scripture lessons, one of the most important parts for us to reflect upon is the part where Peter is standing before the Sanhedrin, the religious leaders of God's people, and declares to them, "You and all the people of Israel must know that this cripple stands before you, cured through the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene. You had him crucified yet God raised him from the dead. So Jesus is the stone rejected by you, the builders. This stone has become the cornerstone."
I'm sure sometimes people wonder, why do I do that? Because, after all, they have prepared over a period of time and they're dressed up in their confirmation robes and everybody's here to celebrate with them, and so why would I ask the question, "Do you want to be confirmed?" Well, the reason I do -- and this is important for the candidates especially, but for all of us because we can remember our own confirmation and what it means.
It's really amazing how appropriate these readings are for what we're celebrating today. The account in the Gospel, as you know, is the first Easter Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead. If you remember last Sunday's Gospel, the day of Easter, John is the same Gospel writer who told us how early in the morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and was worried about the stone being moved away. It was gone, and she discovered that the tomb was empty. She was terrified.