Sunday, April 28, 2013

Golgotha, Rome, and Words that Mean Something

Readings for April 28, 2013, Fifth Sunday of Easter:

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2013

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
April 28, 2013

President Woodrow Wilson famously said, "If I'm to speak for ten minutes, I need a week for preparation, if fifteen minutes, three days, if half an hour, two days, if an hour, I am ready now."

Jesus was ready, too. Today's gospel story begins the passion of our Lord with the words: "when the hour came..." Jesus is ready to face his final hours in this city that will soon devour him. He begins his final redeeming act that continues to speak for all eternity. God's centuries old preparation comes to fruition. For Jesus, His three years of ministry sharpened into the moment when he takes his place at the supper table and becomes a Sacrifice for all future generations. Ready or not, we enter with Him into the journey of Golgotha.

You took part in the reading of the passion a few minutes ago and I'm sure all of you being attentive probably do not need a lot of extra explanation. And because of the length of the passion and wanting to keep my remarks a little short this morning, I want to talk to you about Pope Francis.It would be an understatement for me to tell you that I'm excited. And to put my excitement into perspective and wanting to tell you a story that some of you have already heard, however remembering Father who will tell us that good music or a good story is worthy of retelling.

Father Statz gives a homily on being good, and he did a good job, the next weekend was my turn to preach and I titled my homily out loud, "good isn't good enough, you have to be holy." By the way that was the only homily than I ever gave in his presence that he thanked me for. What came out of that was that at the end of mass when the little kids and sometimes not so little kids would give me a hug I would whisper to them be good, and they would respond, be holy.

This went on for quite some length of time and finally some of the young people that were off to college were coming home on weekends. We would go through this little thing be good be holy, but I would add have you been preaching the gospel? I think some of them really thought that that was my job, my response, no-no that's your job!

Then I would remind them of the story of St. Francis. When one day he goes out with one of his young man to preach the Gospel and having been out all day and returning the young man says, Father Francis we haven't preach the gospel today. Father Francis responds, what do you think we've been doing all day if necessary use words. This then completes the exchange that had been going on between some of our people and myself.

Now suddenly we have a new pope and he is called Francis. But even more, if you been watching and listening to him in the last week you will come to the realization that he is like St. Francis by preaching the Gospel more in who he is and who he represents and by how he loves us. You will note too that when he uses words they really mean something.

He tells us of the need to protect the environment, serve one another with love and tenderness and not allow "omens of destruction," hatred, envy and pride to "defile our lives."

Jesus, commanded to Peter and to his successors to: "feed His lambs and His sheep." This command was likewise given to Pope Francis as he accepts the chair of Peter. Keep both eyes on this Pope Francis because what he does will be more important than what he says!

You all be Good, be Holy, preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words.

'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.

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